Jazz Appreciation Month: Nat Gonella

Nat Gonella (1908-1998) was a key player on the British Jazz scene. His first recording was with the Billy Cotton Band and he played with a number of the dance band leaders of the time including Roy Fox, Lew Stone and Ray Noble. It was while with Lew Stone that he formed the Georgians, a band with in a band and the name would stick with him for the majority of his career. His first hit was the “Isle of Capri” in which he couldn’t quite pronounce Capri correctly with it coming out as ‘Capwee’. While ‘Georgia on my Mind’ would become his theme song, Nat recorded fluently throughout the 1930s. Obviously to cater to taste his music would include softer dance band numbers among the hot jazz otherwise he’d be stuck in Vaudeville houses.

After WW2 Nat attempted to start a bebop band and was less than successful leading him to describe the genre as ‘gas oven music’. Luckily the Trad Boom was just around the corner giving his career a boost.

In the 70s Nat gave up playing the Trumpet but still sang, and would do so right up to the end of his life.

In February 1998, shortly after his 90th birthday Nat went into studio and recorded 9 tracks with an all star band.

In April 1998 Nat suffered a fall and was rushed to hospital. Sadly Nat was a victim of a problem with an antibiotics scandal and was one of many to die in the process.

Here is a song called “My Woman” which he recorded with Lew Stone and features Al Bowlly on vocals. Nat’s trumpet solo was later sampled by EDM artist White City which made the UK top 20

Just in case you don’t believe me

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