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This Week in Texas Music History: Nash Hernández

Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a band leader whose Latin swing made the governor dance.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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On June 26, 1994, Nash Hernández died in Austin. Born in New Braunfels in 1922, Hernández grew up in Fredericksburg, where he learned to play trumpet in German polka bands. In 1949, he started the Nash Hernández Orchestra, which combined Latin rhythms with the big band swing music popularized by Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and others. The Nash Hernández Orchestra became one of the most popular big bands in Texas and was invited to perform at Governor Dolph Briscoe’s inaugural ball.

In addition to performing, Nash Hernández dedicated much of his life to educating younger musicians. After he died in 1994, his son Ruben took over leadership of the Nash Hernández Orchestra. In 2008, Nash Hernández was inducted into the Austin Music Memorial.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a piano player who fit a lifetime of jazz into only sixteen years.