A few years ago, Elizabeth Bougerol downed two stiff drinks and ventured out to a jazz jam she’d heard about nearby. There, she sang (something she’d mostly only done in the shower) and met a piano player who shared her love of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles. Today, the band they created out of a mission to spread the joy of traditional jazz is doing just that. Their debut album, “The Hot Sardines,” spent more than a year on the Billboard Jazz Chart, and their latest, “French Fries + Champagne,” hit no. 1 at iTunes Jazz, landing them at the Newport Jazz Festival, the Blue Note Festival in Japan, and a few hundred points in-between. Right now she’s prepping a live album, gearing up for 50+ tour dates, and working on a project celebrating the France-America love affair through jazz, slated for next fall. She’s also readying another installment of Ladies First, the NYC dance party/“celebration of badass women musicians”/Planned Parenthood fundraiser she created last year with the skint, the newsletter she co-founded. And she’s trying to get her 2-year-old to brush his teeth on the regular.
1. On the nightstand: Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York. Will Friedwald’s Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers (it’s 800 pages, so it’ll be on my nightstand until I die). And a lot of online content— Brain Pickings, Caroline Crampton’s No Complaints and Cup of Jo are favorites.
2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Maldon Salt, on all foods, forever. Instagram. Podcasts: Here’s the Thing, Employee of the Month, Nerdette, Fresh Air.
3. Jam of the minute: A new collaboration has me digging into classic honky-tonk, like Dolly Parton and Porter Waggoner’s “Just Someone I Used to Know.” Cecile McLorin-Salvant’s Dreams and Daggers is lovely and just earned her a second Grammy nomination. The Ladybugs’ holiday EP is haunting.
4. Thing I miss: Breaking Bad. Grocery stores in France, where I grew up.
5. 80’s crush: Prince
6. Current crush: Prince
7. Will whine about: Whining is something I’m trying to quit, because it doesn’t make me feel good. I wish I was one of those “It’s cathartic!” people. Maybe the first two minutes are cathartic, but after that the self-loathing creeps in. So I try to convert it into something productive until the feeling passes – a project I’m working on, a thank-you note. It’s not foolproof, but it’s made a real difference to my mood and energy level.
8. Will wine about: Gin or anything sparkling
9. Best thing that happened yesterday: Found out our recording of “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen” is going to be in the remake of Papillon, with Rami Malek and Charlie Hunnam.
10. Looking forward to: Christmas through my two-year-old’s eyes – I can’t wait to wrap this tour, get home and do it all: the tree, baking cookies with grandma, watching him learn about Santa. Playing Big Easy on the Hudson, a celebration of New Orleans’ 300th birthday at NYC’s Symphony Space next week. Touring in China next year. My son really nailing “Please” and “Thank you.”