Philly-born Evan Palazzo and the swing-jazz-blues octet The Hot Sardines hit the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Cultural Campus.
Ever since forming in 2007 throughout the juke joints, blues boites and swing salons of New York City, The Hot Sardines have made trad jazz with a graceful twist, a raw knuckled, 1920s and 30s influenced groove with a soul and sophistication in which to make them rare, gem-polished modernists. Meaning, there’s not a lick of corn to be found in albums such as 2014’s The Hot Sardines, 2016’s French Fries + Champagne, and their most recent album, Welcome Home, Bon Voyage from 2019.
While it is no secret that The Hot Sardines’s cool jazz is best served in a luscious live setting, it was truly something of a surprise to find that Sardinian pianist and swing ensemble co-founder Evan Palazzo (who met lead vocalist and washboard player Elizabeth Bougerol, aka Miz Elizabeth, at a jovial jam session in Manhattan 14 years ago) is from Philly (for at least a minute) with a degree from the University of the Arts to show for his troubles.
So having the eight-piece (including one wildly percussive tap dancer) Hot Sardines in Philly on Thursday, December 2 at Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Perelman Theater is both a gleeful homecoming and a noisy universal celebration of getting the hell out of the virtual realm and jamming live. “These are times that need live music, and I don’t know of anything that brings people together like the joy of hearing traditional jazz live,” said Elizabeth Bougerol, co-leader of The Hot Sardines. “Everything in our DNA is about connecting with the audience. That’s where we feel most at home.”
Having a history of gigging at speakeasies and underground parties in Brooklyn as well as to European festival crowds of 25,000, Evan Palazzo said, “That’s where jazz lives: In the playing, in sharing that experience, in coming together to create a moment that won’t happen again. This music reaches fans who are 17 or 97, who speak English or Russian or Spanish or Japanese.”