Hot Sardines spreads sassy, jazzy joy at Peace Center
By Paul Hyde, 3:37 p.m. EST January 19, 2016
A Hot Sardines concert ranges from high to low.
The tasty, tentative title of the group’s forthcoming album says it all: “French Fries and Champagne.”
“We like reaching for those fancy sweeping ballads and at the same time we love the down-and-dirty bluesy stuff,” said the group’s vocalist Elizabeth Bougerol.
The Hot Sardines will spread its special brand of sassy, jazzy joy at the Peace Center on Friday, Jan. 29. (The band zips up to Asheville’s Diana Wortham Theatre the very next evening.)
The New York-based group spotlights jazz and pop standards from the 1920s to 1950s as well as its own original material.
Founded by Bougerol and Evan “Bibs” Palazzo, the band fuses musical influences from New York, Paris and New Orleans that were nurtured during the Prohibition era through the Great Depression, World War II and beyond.
Expect to hear a range of styles from swing to Dixieland to the sounds of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Benny Goodman and Ray Charles.
“A melting pot of musicians both iconic and obscure have influenced our style and song interpretation,” Bougerol said, speaking during a break in a recording session at The Magic Shop in New York’s Soho neighborhood.
“We’re really captivated by the first half of the last century,” she said. “Those are the eras that keep calling us back again. It was such an exciting time with all these styles being developed.”
The eight-member band’s repertoire encompasses such standards as “I Love Paris,” “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” and Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Your Feet’s Too Big.”
Some of its newer numbers include songs from “The Jungle Book,” and “Running Wild” from the 1959 film “Some Like It Hot.”
But the group chooses from a repertoire of about 60 songs.
“We make up the set list at the soundcheck,” said the Paris-born Bougerol, who in addition to singing strums the washboard. “We try not to play the same show twice.”
The group includes a unique feature: tap dancer Edwin “Fast Eddy” Francisco.
“A lot of this music is intertwined with the movies that were being created in that era,” Bougerol said. “Dance was a part of that, too, so we try to pay homage to that history of entertainment.”
In addition to Bougerol and Francisco (whose tapping becomes part of the percussion section), the band features trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, piano, bass and drums.
The group is a fixture at two celebrated New York jazz venues: Joe’s Pub and the Boom Boom Room at the top of The Standard Hotel.
Like “Fast Eddy,” everyone in the band has a nickname. Bougerol goes by “Miz Elizabeth.”
The group released its first major label album, the self-titled “Hot Sardines,” on Decca/Universal Music Classics in October, 2014. Its next album is due out early this summer.
Though the band’s music is nostalgic, the Hot Sardines tends to draw audiences of all ages.
“These songs have universal appeal,” Bougerol said. “That’s why they’ve lasted.”
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YOU CAN GO
What: The Hot Sardines
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29
Where: Peace Center Concert Hall
Tickets: $15 to $35
Information: 864-467-3000 or www.peacecenter.org