Music review: Tap dancing jazzes up The Hot Sardines' new release



The Hot Sardines

Eleven Records/4 stars

The element that sets retro swing group The Hot Sardines apart from the other neo-swing ensembles is their inclusion of tap dancer A.C. Lincoln in their line-up.

This live album, recorded at New York’s Joe’s Pub and Toronto’s Koerner Hall, is an intriguing aural record of how a hoofer fits in a music performance. The answer is beautifully, and makes one wish one could watch the performance in person.

Tap is of course percussive. And Lincoln’s fancy feet provide lovely counterpoint on several tracks. The standout track is Some Of These Days, where his crisp taps set a rolling rhythm, taking up what would have been a timbale’s role in the Latin-inspired arrangement.

The band’s co-leaders – singer Elizabeth Bougerol and pianist Evan Palazzo – deliver early swing style with affection and glee, without hipster irony.

And their effervescent joy in the genre comes through most clearly in the bright stride piano intro and chirpily throwaway lyrics to I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None Of My Jelly Roll, a tribute to the legendary swing pianist.

This track also benefits from the playful conversation between clarinetist Nick Myers and trumpeter Noah Hocker.

This release is the next best thing to hearing this bouncy band live. Here’s hoping some promoter will bring them in soon.

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