Nat Temple

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Clarinetist Nat Temple was a fixture behind popular British bandleader Harry Roy throughout the 1930s -- he later led his own group, enjoying an extended run on BBC radio. Born in London on July 18, 1913,…
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Clarinetist Nat Temple was a fixture behind popular British bandleader Harry Roy throughout the 1930s -- he later led his own group, enjoying an extended run on BBC radio. Born in London on July 18, 1913, Temple modeled his melodic, supple playing after Benny Goodman. He made his professional debut in 1929 behind bandleader Sam Costa, but two years later joined the Harry Roy Orchestra, at that time enjoying an extended residency at RKO's Leicester Square Theatre. During a 1933 residency at the Café Anglais, they scored a hit with "Tiger Rag," and quickly emerged as one of Britain's most notable swing bands. Between 1934 and 1936, Roy and his group held court at the Mayfair Hotel, and during that time made their feature film debut in Everything in Heaven, quickly followed by Rhythm Racketeers. Roy thanked Temple for his virtuoso clarinet solos by claiming credit himself, but only in 1940 did Temple finally quit the orchestra when he was called to serve in World War II, joining the Grenadier Guards and playing in military bands on tours of North Africa and Italy. In 1947 he finally founded his own group, launching the career of then-unknown vocalist Frankie Vaughan and backing famed American composer Hoagy Carmichael on his British tour. During the 1950s Temple was a regular presence on the BBC, appearing with his band on countless comedy shows -- a humble and affable sort, he was the ideal straight man for comedians of all stripes. The group also played on hundreds of sessions for Decca Records. Temple continued leading various configurations of his group into the 1990s, and in 1993 earned recognition for his services to music from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. He died in London on May 30, 2008.