Nat Brandwynne

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Nat Brandwynne was one of a group of pianists who emerged as bandleaders in the '30s, attempting to replicate the success of Eddy Duchin. Brandwynne was the most legitimate, needless to say, as he and…
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Nat Brandwynne was one of a group of pianists who emerged as bandleaders in the '30s, attempting to replicate the success of Eddy Duchin. Brandwynne was the most legitimate, needless to say, as he and mighty Duchin had made up a double piano team feature in the Leo Reisman Orchestra, a major catalyst in this particular keyboard craze. Brandwynne did not really establish his long-term career as an ivory tickler, though. He concentrated on directing a tight, professional band and went to work backing up singers from the pop world, requiring a feel for changing styles that this leader obviously felt comfortable with.

An early-'70s performance backing British vocal icon Petula Clark was praised highly by Variety magazine, remarking on a Brandwynne band able to "aid and abet with unstinting vigor." His most widely heard album would have to be the 1974 Live at Caeser's Palace by Diana Ross, incredibly overblown but a hit nonetheless. By that time he was fairly comfortable in the atmosphere of Las Vegas, having signed on as musical director of Caesar's Palace Circus Maximus in 1966. Brandwynne also recorded several albums with Lena Horne. Releases by his own group include "Green Eyes" and his band theme song, "If Stars Could Talk."

It hardly seems worth mentioning that his name sometimes appears with the final "e" lopped off, not when there is the more serious problem of Nat Brandywine, a credit that somehow mutated out of his own name, to be used frequently in its place in all manner of listings including record company catalogs. Some listeners might argue that Brandywine is an altogether better name than Brandwynne.