Hot House West is the premier Gypsy jazz band in the American West. Established in Salt Lake City, Utah, Hot House West creates a unique flavor of hot jazz, drawing inspiration from Gypsy jazz greats, such as Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappeli, Tcha Limberger, Biréli Lagrène, and Gonzalo Bergara, and the American masters of swing, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, and Count Basie.
An adaptive and adventurous ensemble, Hot House West has performed throughout the United States and Europe. The band’s dynamic performances, characterized by explosive guitar playing, the rich wail of horns, and a little big band punch, have been enjoyed at DjangoVegas, Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, Greeley Jazz Festival, Salt Lake City Jazz Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival. Whether as a trio, quartet, or seven-piece ensemble, Hot House West creates a vibrant tapestry of sound, featuring the sophistication of bebop, a deep, propulsive swing, and an improvisational spirit that honors the lineage of both Gypsy and American jazz.
Hot House West began in 2011 as a small combo in the University of Utah Jazz program. The band was formed by Nathan Royal (guitar), James Martak (guitar), and Kevin Schultz (upright bass), who were inspired by a performance by Frank Vignola, a contemporary Gypsy jazz guitarist. With instruments in hand, and a passion for the music first championed by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappeli, Nathan, James, and Kevin took the first steps of what would become a truly unique musical adventure.
Like a blacksmith fashioning a razor sharp sword out of hundreds of clanging repetitions, these musicians honed their craft in the forges of Salt Lake City’s bar and restaurant scene. Hundreds of gigs up and down the Wasatch Front provided the space to master the craft while the band learned to create music as a singular force, drawing inspiration from each other as their rhythm became more and more deeply intertwined. Within a couple years of this collective form of practice, Nathan, James, and Kevin could basically read each other’s minds, calling up the next tune in the set or launching into exciting collective improvisations without having to say a word.