(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) — Vintage jazz group The Hot Sardines brings its early-20th-century sounds to the Fisher Center at Bard College on Friday, December 23, at 8pm, for a “Holiday Stomp” program infusing yuletide classics with a unique twist on New York, Paris, and New Orleans jazz from the era of Prohibition and beyond.
In the talented hands of the New York-based ensemble, music first made famous decades ago comes alive through their brassy horn arrangements, rollicking piano melodies, and cool vocals from a chanteuse who transports listeners to a different era with the mere lilt of her voice. The program includes beloved chestnuts like “White Christmas” and “Please Come Home for Christmas” as well as lesser-known gems such as Edith Piaf’s “Le Noël de La Rue,” Ella Fitzgerald’s “Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney,” and even “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” — with plenty of surprises along the way.
Bandleader Evan “Bibs” Palazzo and lead singer “Miz Elizabeth” Bougerol met in 2007 after they both answered a Craigslist ad about a jazz jam session above a Manhattan noodle shop. The unlikely pair — she was a London School of Economics-educated travel writer who grew up in France, Canada and the Ivory Coast, he was a New York City born and raised actor who studied theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia — bonded over their love for Fats Waller. Influenced also by such greats as Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, they began playing open mic nights and small gigs and by 2011, they headlined Midsummer Night Swing at New York’s Lincoln Center.
The Hot Sardines’ self-titled debut album, named by iTunes as one of the best jazz albums of 2014, spent more than a year on the Billboard Jazz Chart, debuting in the top 10 alongside Michael Bublé, and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. The accolades began pouring in for the band: Downbeat called The Hot Sardines “one of the most delightfully energetic bands on New York’s ‘hot’ music scene,” while The London Times praised their “crisp musicianship” and “immaculate and witty showmanship,” declaring them “simply phenomenal.”
“We found ourselves in the perfect place at the perfect time,” says Evan. “As we explored this 100 year-old jazz, we began to look at it as a journey forward, not so much as a look back. This is music for today, not a museum piece.”
Tickets are $25-65. Additional information is available at Fisher Center at Bard College; tickets can be ordered online at Fisher Center at Bard College or by calling the box office at 845-758-7900.