It’s a great American success story worthy of the cinema. A born-and-bred NYC actor meets a Parisian-born writer at an open jazz jam over a noodle shop in Manhattan, and before you could say “Bourbon Street Parade,” the Hot Sardines were born. Bandleader 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…with a little glamour, a little grit, and a lot of passion. Even while giving voice to the history-defining jazz of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, the Hot Sardines’ vibrant performances bridge generations and captivate 21st century audiences. Forbes Magazine calls them “one of the best jazz bands in NYC today.”
The Hot Sardines have a distinctive recipe for making musical magic: take a blustery brass lineup, layer it over a rhythm section led by a stride-piano virtuoso in the Fats Waller vein, and tie it all together with a one-of-the-boys frontwoman who sings in both English and French with a voice from another era. 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, WWII and beyond. The dramatically diverse age range among the Hot Sardines’ fan base reflects their success at making the classics relevant to current audiences, and Vanity Fair applauds their “unique repertoire, and a sound and style that are distinctly their own.”
The marriage of early-American jazz with the mischievous twist of French culture is a reflection of Bibs’ and Miz Elizabeth’s musical partnership. Parisian-born Miz Eliz sings eloquently and effortlessly in both French and English – and sometimes in Mandarin, just for fun (“Chinatown, My Chinatown” –Jerome/ Schwartz, 1910) – and the pair also writes original songs in both languages.
The Hot Sardines have sold out 15 straight shows during their residency at New York’s famed Joe’s Pub, and showcased their versatility by performing to eager, hungry audiences at venues as diverse as the ultra-swank Top of the Standard (Boom Boom Room), the internationally-known Montreal Jazz Festival, the playfully-naughty underground speakeasy experience Shanghai Mermaid, and Symphony Hall in Boston, where they recently performed to sold out audiences in collaboration with the Boston Pops.
In October 2014, their debut self-titled album on the Decca/Universal Music Classics label launched in the U.S. and internationally, and features a collection of both early jazz classics and original Sardine compositions. Producer Eli Wolf (Norah Jones, Al Green, Elvis Costello & the Roots) of the Sardines’ album for Decca/UMC has deep respect for the Hot Sardines’ musicianship and performance style, applauding their “reverence for the jazz age, balanced with a playful nod to the present.” The album launch marks a defining moment in the Sardines’ evolution, which started as a slow burn fueled by a shared passion for music from another era, and escalated as the band’s performances ignited the same passion in audiences all over the world.