Dick Sheridan (born 1936) and Nat Pierce in NYC, 1961
|Birth name||Nathaniel Pierce Blish, Jr.|
July 16, 1925|
June 10, 1992 (aged 66)|
Los Angeles, California
Nat Pierce (né Nathaniel Pierce Blish Jr.; 16 July 1925 Somerville, Massachusetts – 10 June 1992 Los Angeles) was an American jazz pianist and prolific composer and arranger, perhaps best known for being pianist and arranger for the Woody Herman band from 1951 to 1955. Pieces by Pierce were predominantly created for use in big bands.
Following schooling at the New England Conservatory and working as an amateur musician in the Boston area, Pierce then led his own band which featured Charlie Mariano from 1949 to 1951. After working with Woody Herman from 1951 to 1966 as chief arranger and assistant road manager, Pierce took residence in New York City and freelanced with musicians such as Pee Wee Russell, Lester Young, Emmett Berry and Ruby Braff, to name a few.
From 1957 to 1959 Pierce led a band off and on which featured Buck Clayton, Gus Johnson and Paul Quinichette. He recorded with a number of other well-known musicians as well, including Quincy Jones, Coleman Hawkins and Pee Wee Russell. Pierce was noted for his ability to play piano in the Basie style and appeared on many releases by Basie sidemen. Pierce also arranged the music for The Sound of Jazz, a 1954 CBS television special hosted by John Crosby. Together with Frank Capp he founded the Capp/Pierce Juggernaut Band in 1975.
Pierce died of complications from an abdominal infection in Los Angeles, California.
As Nat Pierce and His Orchestra
With Louis Bellson
- Drummer's Holiday (Verve, 1958)
With Ruby Braff
With Al Cohn
- The Natural Seven (RCA Victor, 1955)
With Freddie Green
- Mr. Rhythm (RCA Victor, 1955)
- With Johnny Hodges
- Triple Play (RCA Victor, 1967)
With Joe Newman
- All I Wanna Do Is Swing (RCA Victor, 1955)
- Salute to Satch (RCA Victor, 1956)
- Counting Five in Sweden (Metronome, 1958)
With Paul Quinichette
- With Buddy Tate
- Unbroken (MPS, 1970)
With Count Basie
With Bob Brookmeyer
- Kansas City Revisited (United Artists, 1958)
With Woody Herman
- Woody Herman–1963 (Philips, 1963)
With Quincy Jones
- The Birth of a Band! (Mercury, 1959)
- ASCAP Biographical Dictionary (4th ed.), compiled by Jaques Cattell Press, R.R. Bowker (1980); OCLC 7065938
- "Nat Pierce, 66, Dies; Leader of Jazz Band". The New York Times. 13 June 1992.
- "Billboard Charts - February 9, 1957". p. 33.
- "Discogs Entry: Kansas City Memories - Nat Pierce and His Orchestra".