Zack Sapunor is from Sacramento, California and claims lineage from the Western swing scene that began when Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys made their home there in the late 1940s. He has toured and recorded with Austin’s Wayne “The Train” Hancock, and is a veteran of traditional jazz cornetist Jim Cullum’s band (of NPR’s “Riverwalk Jazz” renown), in San Antonio, Texas.
Though he is what most would consider “self-taught,” Zack has learned first-hand from slap bass masters in New Orleans, Chicago, and Austin, including alumni of the very Hot Club he has now joined. Growing up as a kid in the 1980s, Sapunor’s first love was hip-hop, then as a teenager he played in garage bands picking up bass guitar as his uncles did before him. Eventually transitioning to upright bass, he immersed himself in roots music and rockabilly, leading him to the “slap” bass tradition and his discovery of Western swing.
For his musical development Zack also credits stints working at the original Tower Records and then at world-famous Amoeba Music while studying music and theatre at Sacramento City College and San Francisco State University. Theatre credits include “Always…Patsy Cline” at Sacramento Theatre Company (2010), most of 2016 on a Caribbean tour of “Million Dollar Quartet,” and the title role in “Woody Guthrie’s American Song” (2002) at City Theatre where he has also had a half-dozen of his own original plays produced.
Prior to joining the Hot Club of Cowtown in the summer of 2020, Sapunor has been a featured soloist performing Western swing with the Sweet & Low Melody Co., hot jazz with Jazz Gitan, and singing and writing for his own Tropicali Flames, a swing, doo-wop, and Latin-influenced R&B quartet.
A seasoned live performer Zack has played bass for Texas roots maven Rosie Flores, original Sun Records legends Sleepy LaBeef and WS Holland, as well as GRAMMY-winner Arturo Sandoval. He continues to enjoy club, theatre, and studio sessions averaging over 200 dates per year and is thrilled and honored to take the stage with his Hot Club of Cowtown bandmates.