THE HOT SARDINES, fueled by the belief that classic jazz feeds the heart and soul, are on a mission to make old sounds new again and prove that joyful music can bring people together in a disconnected world. In the last two years, the Hot Sardines have been featured at the Newport and Montreal jazz festivals, have sold out NYC venues from Joe’s Pub to Bowery Ballroom and more than 150 tour dates from Chicago to London, and have released two albums on Universal Music Classics to critical raves. 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 vocals from a chanteuse who transports listeners to a different era with the mere lilt of her voice. On French Fries & Champagne, their new album, the jazz collective broadens its already impressive palette, combining covers and originals as they effortlessly channel New York speakeasies, Parisian cabarets and New Orleans jazz halls. Bandleader Evan Palazzo and lead singer Elizabeth Bougerol met in 2007 after they both answered a Craigslist ad about a jazz jam session above a Manhattan noodle shop. 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 Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.
ROBBIE LEE, PIANIST, was born and raised in Tucson, began playing alto saxophone at age 12, later switching to piano. Soon after, he joined the Tucson Jazz Institute, a community music program dedicated to giving students opportunities to play and develop meaningful relationships through music. With TJI he was given a firm grounding in the traditional forms of jazz from traditional to post-bop and was encouraged to develop his own voice and keep an open mind. By age 14, Robbie had begun performing at various venues on a weekly basis. In both 2010 and 2014 he was given opportunities to tour and play at numerous jazz festivals in Europe with TJI including Jazz a Vienne and the Umbria and Montreux jazz festival. Throughout high school, Lee was given awards for performance and composition by YoungArts, DownBeat, The Next Generation Jazz Festival and the Essentially Ellington Competition. These awards include Outstanding Tripler and the Ella Fitzgerald outstanding soloist award presented by Wynton Marsalis at the Essentially Ellington Festival. In 2015 Downbeat magazine awarded him Outstanding Composition for Large Ensemble as part of the 38th Student Music Awards. He has had the honor of playing with Brice Winston, Charles McPherson, Ray Drummond, Candido Camero, and Jimmy Heath. Robbie currently studies at the Manhattan School of Music, in his final year of the undergraduate program.