Nash Hernandez Orchestra
Welcome to the Nash Hernandez Orchestra, Austin's longest running big band. Established in 1949 by Nash Hernandez, the orchestra continues on today under the direction of Nash's youngest son, drummer Ruben Hernandez. The band has been playing big band swing and Latin music for generations of fans throughout central Texas. A twelve-piece band, the group was established in 1949 by trumpeter Nash Hernandez. Initially comprised of all Hispanic musicians that Hernandez himself taught, the group has had many musicians come through the ranks, but the sound has always remained the same. Many musicians who performed in the group went on to lead their own groups and have become prominent musicians in the Austin music scene. Musicians such as Mitch Watkins, Tomas Ramirez, Alphonso Ramos, Tim Torres, Dave Gutierrez, John Mills, and Mike Mordecai, to name only a few, all began their career in the Austin area working in the Nash Hernandez Orchestra.
Nash Hernandez fell in love with the big band style while a member of the Army Air Corp during World War II. He got to work with many musicians from the popular big bands of that golden era of music who were also serving their country in the war. After the war, he moved to Austin and worked with Matt Velasquez and in 1949 decided to start his own band. The band did all the popular big band swing of the era, but in addition, the group also performed the Latin music of Perez Prado, Tito Puente, and Xavier Cugat. This made the group popular with a wide variety of people. Over the years, Nash performed for numerous politicians, the Austin Senators baseball team, numerous corporate parties, and generations of weddings. In 1975, Nash was named Ambassador of Goodwill by Governor Dolph Brisco, for whom Nash had performed in 1973 at Governor Brisco's Inaugural Ball. In addition, Nash Hernandez was twice honored by the city of Austin when the city council proclaimed Nash Hernandez Day on October 26, 1975 and again on July 2, 1993. In that same year, he was also honored by the Texas Senate with a proclamation sponsored by the Honorable Senator Gonzalo Barrientos. In 1994, he was recognized by Vice-President Al Gore for his contributions in the state.
Most recently, the band was again honored by the Austin city council on September 9, 1999, with a "Nash Hernandez Orchestra" day in the city. The band has also been a featured act at the Warehouse District Jazz Festival, held in downtown Austin, in 1998 and 1999. The group continues to perform for political fundraisers, corporate events, and numerous wedding receptions. If you're looking for that right touch of class for your event, then the Nash Hernandez Orchestra is right up your "swing alley."