This band brought me back to life! I was a bit between blue and – as Blanche says in The Golden Girls – magenta, and The Hot Sardines gave me a solid kick in the ass. They’re on a mission to put the “hot” back into “hot jazz.” Think Louis Armstrong’s legendary Hot Five and Hot Seven combos, with a pinch of the gutbucket grit of swing revivalists like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Their repertoire tends to pre-1930 songs, popularized by the likes of Sophie Tucker and Mamie Smith, but they also expand into reinterpreting songs from other eras in that style.
Lead singer Elizabeth Bougerol and pianist / bandleader Evan Palazzo met in 2007 after they both answered a Craigslist ad about a jazz jam session above a Manhattan noodle shop. Palazzo passed her litmus test – he knew Fats Waller’s “Your Feet’s Too Big” and could play it off the top of his head. Since then they have been increasing the size of the ensemble; it’s presently a hot eight-piece. Perhaps most inventively, the band includes a rotating cast of tap dancers, who intentionally play the part of a percussionist more than a dancer.
Bougerol was born in France and injects the occasional French-language vocal into the mix, regardless of whether the song was originally in French or not. This sort of playful irreverence forms a central part of the band’s aesthetic, showing up in Palazzo’s frisky fugue-like intro to “Comes Love,” and in Bougerol’s elaborating on the “single-entendre” metaphors that blues singers used for dirty or “hokum” songs. Highly recommended.
For tickets, click here.
To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.