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BlackBook Premieres New Hot Sardines + Alan Cumming Track

New York City is generally not kind to purveyors of musical nostalgia. While from Wicker Park to East Hollywood, one might readily find a rockabilly scene that’s been going on at the same place for 20 years, Gotham just doesn’t have the patience.

This makes the rise of NYC’s utterly fabulous nouveau swing stylists The Hot Sardines all the more spectacular. Tapping into the singular puissance and pizzazz of the ’20s and ’30s, they’ve consistently played to packed houses, secured a major label deal and even been invited to guest with The Boston Pops.

Now they’ve scored perhaps their ultimate coup: getting acting legend and Cabaret star Alan Cumming to sing a song with them. The resulting track, “When I Get Low, I Get High,” is a veritable modern classic, which we’re thrilled to debut on BlackBook.

And with a US and European tour kicking off this Saturday, we caught up with the glamorous Hot Sardines frontwoman Elizabeth Bougerol, to chat about their devoted followers, upcoming album (French Fries & Champagne, out June 17 on Universal Music Classics), and the chance to work with an icon like Cumming.

At a time when the musical landscape seems to be narrower than ever, whom do you find makes up the Hot Sardines audience?

We’re still trying to figure that out. We show up on peoples’ playlists next to everyone from Lake Street Dive to Chet Baker to Billie Holiday to Ray Charles to Amy Winehouse to Edith Piaf. The audience is all over the place. We sold out most of the dates on our first national tour on basically zero national press, so that told us we probably weren’t the only ones craving new classic sounds.


How did you come to connect with Alan Cumming? Was he already a fan?

It was such a long shot. Evan (Palazzo, who started the band with me) and I are fans of pretty much everything he does—he’s so talented at so many things at once, and he’s using all of his powers for good. So our producer Eli Wolf (Norah Jones, Elvis Costello, The Roots) just cold called him to ask if he’d be interested in singing on the record. He wrote back “I love the Hot Sardines!” in the sweetest email. We were on tour and had to excuse ourselves to go do a happy dance.


Tell us a bit about working with him.

In a word, just lovely. He’s just so fully, authentically himself, in that way you don’t see too often. It’s mesmerizing to watch him call on his instincts as a performer. We swapped stories of taking our rescue dogs to the ER, regrettable tattoos and which animals we follow on Instagram; he turned me on to Esther the Wonder Pig.


What can we expect from the new album, French Fries & Champagne?

We hatched a plan to make about half the record just us Sardines doing our lowdown thing (the fries), and then lush out the other half with strings (the Champagne). As for what to expect: a gospel-tinged tune from Some Like It Hot, “People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma! as a tango, some sweet boy-girl harmonies, some Grappelli-style French fiddle, and a couple of originals, including the title track—which is about throwing a party when the world is going to hell in a handbasket. And we did a sort of boogie-woogie thing with “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer, because it doesn’t matter when a tune was written—a classic is a classic.


View at BlackBook:


The Hot Sardines

“one of the most delightfully energetic bands on New York’s ‘hot’ music scene” – Downbeat

Announce New Album French Fries & Champagne
Available June 17 on Universal Music Classics

Featuring Duet With The Award-Winning Alan Cumming
“When I Get Low I Get High”
Premiered By Blackbook Today

North American Tour Dates Confirmed Including Central Park Summerstage, Newport Jazz Festival + More

“leaders of New York’s vintage jazz revival” – CBS This Morning: Saturday

Formed by bandleader Evan “Bibs” Palazzo and lead singer “Miz Elizabeth” Bougerol, The Hot Sardines have announced their sophomore studio album, French Fries & Champagne, out June 17 on Universal Music Classics. The record comes on the heels of their critically lauded self-titled debut album, which was named one of iTunes’ best jazz albums of 2014 and spent more than a year on the Billboard Jazz Chart, debuting in the top 10 alongside Michael Bublé and Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga.

Broadening its already impressive palette, the jazz collective combine covers and originals as they effortlessly channel New York speakeasies, Parisian cabarets and New Orleans jazz halls. Alan Cumming pairs with Elizabeth for a mischievous take on “When I Get Low, I Get High,” a song popularized by Ella Fitzgerald. The album title track is one of several originals on the album, including Evan’s instrumental homage to his old neighborhood, “Gramercy Sunset,” and  “Here You Are Again,” a woozy, country-leaning track written by Elizabeth. Jazz standard “Comes Love” starts as a minuet before vocalist Elizabeth, singing in her native French, conjures up spirits from the roaring ‘20s. The Hot Sardines even upend Robert Palmer’s 1985 classic “Addicted To Love” with Elizabeth’s cool vocals and hot horn arrangements.

Produced by Eli Wolf (Elvis Costello, Norah Jones), the collection celebrates the duality of The Hot Sardines with the album title reflecting both their glamorous and gritty sides. Influenced also by such greats as Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, Evan and Elizabeth began playing open mic nights and small gigs and by 2011, they headlined Midsummer Night Swing at New York’s Lincoln Center. The band will take their captivating live show on a national tour this summer in support of French Fries & Champagne. In the hot jazz movement, The Hot Sardines stand apart for their innovation, verve and the sheer joy they bring to music, both new and old. Be sure to catch their mesmerizing performance at one of their scheduled appearances, which includes Central Park Summerstage, Newport Jazz Festival and much more.

National Tour Dates

4/23: Frostburg, MD @ Frostburg State U. Drama Theater PAC

4/28: Norfolk, VA @ Virginia Arts Festival – The Plot (Neon District)

5/1: Mahwah, NJ @ Ramapo College, Bernie Center for the Performing and Visual Arts

5/14: Brookfield, WI @ Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Harris Theater

4/29: Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere

5/13: Flint, MI @ Flint Cultural Center, The Whiting

5/17: Madison, WI @ Overture Center for the Arts, Capitol Theater

7/2: Toronto, ON @ Toronto Jazz Festival, The Horseshoe Tavern

6/16: New York, NY @ Joe’s Pub

6/25: New York, NY @ Central Park Summerstage

6/28: Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live, upstairs

6/30: Montreal, QUE @ Montreal Jazz Festival

7/1: Detroit, MI @ Jazz Cafe at Music Hall

7/3: Ottawa, ON @ Ottawa Jazz Festival

7/29: Portsmouth, NH @ The Music Hall

7/30: Newport, RI @ The Newport Jazz Festival

7/31: Canadensis, PA @ The Skytop Lodge

9/28: Redbank, NJ @ The Count Basie Theater

10/1: Boston, MA @ Berklee Performance Center

10/4: Albany, NY @ The Egg

10/9: Newark, NJ @ NJPAC

10/20: Muncie, IN @ Ball State U, Emmons Auditorium

10/21: New Albany, IN @ The Ogle Center, Richard K. Stern Concert Hall

10/22: Jasper, IN @ Jasper Arts Center

10/25: Chicago, IL @ City Winery

10/27: Minneapolis, MN @ Dakota Jazz Club

10/28: Mason City, IA @ North Iowa Area Community College

10/29: Des Moines, IA @ Des Moines PA,- Temple Theater

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For more information on The Hot Sardines, contact:

Sarah Avrin,, 814-777-0709

Phoebe Wilson,, 562-773-5335

Olga Makrias,, 212-333-1485


The Hot Sardines are set to return to the U.K., playing their first-ever show in Ireland, gracing London’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, and making a pilgrimage to Tom Jones’ homeland in Wales. Dates below. (Update: Select shows sold out.)

  • 6/5: OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM. Oxford New Theatre. tickets
  • 6/6: SALISBURY, UNITED KINGDOM. Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival. tickets
  • 6/7: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. Ronnie Scott’s. **SOLD OUT** 7:30P; 2nd show at 10:15P. tickets
  • 6/8: DUBLIN, IRELAND. National Concert Hall. tickets
  • 6/9: CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM. New Theatre. tickets


Sardines on “Later… With Jools Holland”

The Sardines appeared on UK TV’s music showcase “Later… With Jools Holland” on May 12, playing “Goin’ Crazy With the Blues” off their self-titled debut The Hot Sardines. Other guests included Lianne La Havas, Paul Weller, Curtis Harding, Father John Misty and Soak.