The Hot Sardines bring hot jazz to New Year’s Eve bash

Evan Palazzo and Elizabeth Bougerol with their band, The Hot Sardines. (Submitted photo)
Evan Palazzo and Elizabeth Bougerol with their band, The Hot Sardines. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

It started with a Craiglist ad that Evan Palazzo and Elizabeth Bougerol both answered for an open jazz jam session.

They found they share the love for the same type of jazz.

“Elizabeth, our singer, and I co-founded the band as a hobby or a lark in 2008,” Palazzo said. “But we didn’t start playing professionally with this group until 2011.”

Palazzo’s group, The Hot Sardines, a touring band from New York City, will play at the New Year’s Eve Party at the Palladium from 10 p.m. to midnight. Live entertainment will begin at The Center for Performing Arts at 8 p.m.

“This will be our first New Year’s Eve outside of our home base,” Palazzo said.

The Hot Sardines started making a name for themselves by playing the New York speakeasy scene.

“They’re legal, but you go online and get your password and location and it’s a party that goes all night with jazz and costumes,” Palazzo said. “From that we started to get some wonderful offers. We played Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center. That was our first large audience show. We had a long residency at the Standard Hotel as well as we still have a residency at Joe’s Pub. Then we had offers to tour and record so who were we to say no to such a fun idea.”

Palazzo and Bougerol were not professional musicians prior to starting The Hot Sardines but the rest of the band was.

The Hot Sardines, who also include a tap dancer, typically play on the road two weeks of the month and in New York the other two weeks. In addition to touring the nation, they have played in Canada, London, Berlin, Paris and Vienna.

The Hot Sardines play hot jazz and sultry standards from the 1920s, ‘30s and ’40s, along with some traditional jazz. Palazzo plays the stride piano in the eight-piece band.

“We play everything from Dixieland Jazz to Benny Goodman Swing,” Palazzo said. “We’re very influenced by Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller and even some Ray Charles. We also have a tap dancer, which people mostly don’t see, and he’s a part of the rhythm section. Elizabeth sings in French and English. We do a few original songs but we really stick to the great songs of the 20th century because there are so many. A lot of high energy is what you are going to get.

“While we pride ourselves of playing the music correctly from that era, we have attitude that is definitely 2015. We are considering ourselves a modern group not a museum group.”

The name came from Bougerol’s trip to the grocery store.

“We knew we wanted a name to be hot, something as a tip off to hot jazz, which is the music we all love,” Palazzo said. “Elizabeth saw a can of sardines packed in cayenne pepper called Hot Sardines and we were desperate for a name because we had landed our first gig. We needed a name and Hot Sardines sounded just fine.”

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