Nat GonellaView in iTunes
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Inspired by Louis Armstrong, Nat Gonella in the 1930s could be considered the Wingy Manone or Louis Prima of England. He started off playing in the jazz-oriented dance bands of Billy Cotton, Roy Fox, Ray Noble, and Lew Stone from 1929 to 1934 before leading his own band, the Georgians, named thus because his version of "Georgia on My Mind" was popular. Although he visited and played in the U.S. in 1939, Gonella chose to stay in England where he made many records during 1932-1942, a few in the mid-'40s, and then became less prominent. In 1958, he formed the New Georgia Jazz Band (which recorded frequently during the next three years) and he remained an active and popular figure into the late '70s, dying in 1998. Nat Gonella's recordings are worth investigating by swing and Dixieland fans. ~ Scott Yanow