American jazz trombonist Nat Peck, who played in Glenn Miller’s band and the Clarke-Boland Big Band, died on Saturday October 24th aged 90.
American jazz trombonist Nat Peck, who played in Glenn Miller’s band in the 1940s, died on Saturday October 24th aged 90.
Born in Brooklyn, NYC in 1925, he started his career as a jazz trombonist in the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band when it came over to Europe in 1944. He played in the band after Miller's disappearance and until it was disbanded in 1945.
Peck’s wartime experience in France made him a committed Francophile and he returned to Paris shortly after the war ended to become one of the original Americans in Paris in the 40s and 50s. He made France his home and played with all the jazz greats in Paris, Monte Carlo and throughout Europe. He played with Coleman Hawkins, James Moody, Roy Eldridge, Don Byas, Quincy Jones and Benny Goodman and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie. During the 1960s he became a long-standing member of the Clarke-Boland Big Band where he played alongside Ronnie Scott amongst other greats.
In the 1960s he moved to England where eventually his fluency in French stood him in good stead and he started working as a contractor for major French film composers such as Michel Legrand, Philippe Sarde, Georges Delerue and Gabriel Yared. His reputation grew until he became a leading contractor in the British film and TV recording business, working on major international feature films and classic TV series from Bond and Barbra Streisand films to the Two Ronnies.
Nat Peck was the son of an immigrant movie-house projectionist, received no encouragement or support in becoming a musician, self taught (learning French from the classics like Balzac's Comedie Humaine.)
Peck returned to RAF Twinwood Farm Airfield in 2004, 60 years after he had played there with Glenn Miller. In a BBC interview he recounted the story of Miller’s unsolved disappearance over the English Channel after he took off on a solo flight to France in 1944. Read the story on an archived page here.