Hank West & the Smokin Hots
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Hank West & the Smokin Hots

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Hank West and the Smokin Hots"

One of the greatest pleasures of writing about music is discovering bands I might not have encountered.

Such is the case with Hank West and the Smoking Hots, an energetic and immensely listenable five piece band that seem like men out of time: Which is part of their persona, and one that gives the band a distinctive flavor.

I first met the Smoking Hots at one of Joe Kendrick’s Lingua Musica shows. I had no idea who they were but, knowing Kendrick’s discriminating taste in music I took the chance. The band plays a high octave blend of swing and space jazz, mingling 40s big band with 70s experimental fusion in ways that expand both without discrediting either.

In a pre-show interview Jelly Roll Morton and Sun Ra came up as influences, but when I later mentioned Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass they enthusiastically embraced the notion. Starship Nighthawk, their debut EP, is a brisk combination of ethno beat, ragtime, hard bop and whatever strange and wonderful notion creeps its way in.

On such numbers as “Space Love Song” and the delightful “Hachi Mani” (the highlight of the live show) one gets the sense that the band members are more conduits than originators, and I mean that as high praise. Ideas flow in and out in ways that redefine the idea of write and record.

I’ll let band member Hank West more fully explain the band’s unusual guise, and how it works into the magic that is Hank West and the Smoking Hots.

James Cassara: To those listeners new to the band how about giving us Hank West and the Smoking Hots 101. How did the band get together, and what were the previous artists they’d performed with?

Hank West: The band started coming out of a Sunday brunch gig at Jack of the Wood Pub. We all knew each other from previous projects such as the Firecracker Jazz Band, to name one. So it seems our roots are in traditional Jazz.

JC: Yours is a challenging sound to characterize and I mean that in a very good way. I gather that much of the writing process takes place in the studio. Starship Nighthawk certainly doesn’t sound like a collection of songs that were fully defined in advance.

HW: [laughs] That’s partially true. When that album came to be, at that point we had so many different songs with unique feels and genres, we just cherry picked the most fun ones. I feel as though each song could probably be expanded into its own album.

JC: Okay, what’s with the men from the future shtick? My initial reaction was that it might be a clever way of engaging the listener but there seems to be more than that.

HW: We are, in fact, from the future.

JC: Okay… I guess I’ll have to play along! My first reaction as an audience member was how much fun the band was having. The interaction between members was neither forced nor contrived. Do you guys tend to shake things up from night to night?

HW: Yes, every night we like to channel different influences. Plus, we are practically family which can mean all sorts of emotions brew on stage. You should come to a show where we all finish the third set in a fist fight.

JC: I’ll make it a point to do so. You mentioned getting set to record soon. What can you tell us about that?

HW: We just finished up recording at the wonderful Collapsable Studios. This is what you would call an Electronic Release, 3 songs, all original material once again, only to be released to iTunes.

JC: Anything else to add?

HW: Well sure. Since we were sent back in time, with no way back, we try to replicate the technologies, sentiments, and feelings that prevail in the future. It is important that y’all know that the future really is a peaceful place. Thanks for having us!

If You Go: Hank West & The Smokin' Hots, Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 9 p.m., opening for Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers. Tickets are priced at $8 in advance and $10 day of show, ages 21 and over only. The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Road in West Asheville. Visit www.themothlight.com - Rapid River Magazine

"Listening party: A year of local music"

Hank West & The Smokin' Hots, Starship Nighthawk

This album is a journey through eras and influences. Surely Louis Armstrong lurks in one candlelit corner while Marlene Dietrich, at the peak of her silver screen mojo, slinks just out of sight. There's a hint of old New York, of the Cotton Club, of men in wingtips and women in pearls. But there's also an unbuttonedness, a sultriness conveyed through the horns and the high-flying tangos. "Colombiana" is a wondrous romp through south-of-the-border dance styles, speakeasy piano, fierce horns, shimmering cymbals and lounge vocals. What Hank West & the Smokin' Hots do, with Starship Nighthawk’s most exploratory songs (like the spacey-nightmare-carnival romp "Baba Kush," one of the few offerings without lyrics), is continue to innovate. avl.mx/03m - The Mountain Xpress


Starship Nighthawk



Hank West & The Smokin’ Hots merge 25th century pop and 1920’s New Orleans jazz. Rhythms from around the world to create original music with a hot new and refreshing sound that keep dance floors full. Imported “duty-free” from the year 2470, this five piece ensemble is led by trumpet player and vocalist Hank West. The band brings jazz mastery to reach pop mainstream sensibilities. With infectious beats and lyrics hinting at the new world to come, Hank West & The Smokin’ Hots are the quintessential jazz maestros and rockstar shamans based out of Asheville, North Carolina. 

Band Members