The Hot Sardines

The Hot Sardines

One of New York City’s hottest jazz groups, The Hot Sardines, will perform at the Lutcher Theater (707 Main Ave) in Orange on Wednesday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$37 and can be purchased online at lutcher.org or by calling (409) 886-5535.

Bandleader and pianist Evan “Bibs” Palazzo and lead singer Miz Elizabeth combine with the Sardine ensemble of powerhouse musicians – and their very own tap dancer – to play hot jazz as it was in the era when live music was king. The outfit encompasses a blustery brass lineup, a rhythm section led by a stride-piano virtuoso in the Fats Waller vein, and Miz Elizabeth’s vocalizing in both English and French. The brainchild of Bibs and Miz Elizabeth, the Sardine sound fuses musical influences from New York, Paris, and New Orleans that were nurtured from the Prohibition era through the Great Depression, World War II and beyond.

“Greats like Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Django Reinhardt, Count Basie, Fred Astaire, Mamie Smith, Billie Holiday, the Andrews Sisters, Ray Charles and a full-on melting pot of musicians both iconic and obscure have influenced our style and song interpretation,” said Elizabeth, who helps fuel the Sardine mission to transform songs from another era into pop music for this century.

Palazzo shares that passion, and together they manage the delicate balance of showcasing old songs – some of them penned nearly a century ago – without being an “old-timey band.”

“We don’t treat this music with kid gloves, or place it on a pedestal to play it exactly as it was. … We just play it … as if these songs were written this morning, for today’s generation,” added Palazzo.

In a short time, the Hot Sardines have gone from their first gig at a coffee shop on the last Q train stop in Queens to selling out Joe’s Pub five times in as many months, headlining at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, and opening for the Bad Plus, Lulu Gainsbourg, and French gypsy-jazz artist Zaz. Through it all, they’ve become regulars at the Shanghai Mermaid speakeasy and turned The Standard, where they play regularly, into their own “saloon in the sky” (The Wall Street Journal), complete with tap dancing on the bar, honing a live persona that’s been called “unforgettably wild” and “consistently electrifying” (Popmatters).

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