b. 23 July 1910, New York, USA, d. 7 March 1978. A pianist and the leader of a number of sophisticated society and hotel bands, early on in his career Brandwynne played piano for Leo Reisman and Eddy Duchin, and was hired as the musical director for Russ Columbo’s band in the early 30s. He also worked with Kate Smith before forming his own ensemble to play at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. When the band did play outside of the Waldorf, it was mainly in the New York area, where their theme song, ‘If Stars Could Talk’, played alongside other original compositions such as ‘Peacock Alley’ and ‘Little Rock Rag’. Various vocalists worked with the band, including Buddy Clark, Jerry Wayne, Bernice Parks, Lois Wynne, Art Gentry, Dick Stone and Diane Courtney. Over the years he became a firm favourite at the Waldorf, and his orchestra (conducted by Lennie Hayton) contributed considerably to Lena Horne’s dynamic performance there in 1956, which was recorded live and released on RCA - Victor Records as Lena Horne At The Waldorf Astoria in 1957. By the late 50s Brandwynne had moved to Las Vegas to take over as house band conductor at Caesar’s Palace.
In 1936, billed as Nat Brandwynne And His Stork Club Orchestra, he had US hit records with ‘Take My Heart’, ‘These Foolish Things’ and ‘Until Today’ (all three with vocals by Buddy Clark), as well as the instrumental ‘If We Never Meet Again’. His other sides included ‘Amapola’, ‘The Glory Of Love’, ‘Just One Of Those Things’, ‘My Heart And I’, ‘Easy To Love’, ‘I Dream Of San Marino’, ‘There’s Always A Happy Ending’, ‘That Lovely Night In Budapest’, ‘I’d Rather Lead A Band’, and a series of 78 rpm albums such as Songs Of Our Times-1920 and Songs Of Our Times-1941. He also made several long-playing albums issued by ARC, Brunswick and Decca Records, and led orchestras well into the 70s, often in Las Vegas. Among his own relatively few compositions were ‘Stars Over Bahia’, ‘If Stars Could Talk’ and ‘Peacock Alley’. His albums included The Smart Set, Cole Porter Dance Book, Songs Of Our Times-Song Hits Of 1935, Dancing At The Waldorf and Piano Moods (all 50s).