Jive Bombers jazz band of World War II

  • By Jacqueline E. A. Lawson and John Willis
  • Posted 7/27/2005
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7392
In January 1943, the U.S. Naval Military Band transferred from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois to Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle. A group of these musicians formed their own jazz ensemble, the "Jive Bombers." This information and the band roster was prepared by Jacqueline E. A. Lawson and band member John Willis to correctly caption a photo in the collection of the National Archives.

The Naval Military Band, originally formed at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, consisted of about 24 members. The Military Band was transferred to Sand Point Naval Air Station in January 1943. They performed weekly at bond rallies in "Victory Square" which was located in downtown Seattle in front of the Olympic Hotel on University Street between 4th and 5th Avenues. They also participated in parades, and performed at various Navy functions.

Several members of the band (about 18 of the below-named individuals) formed a jazz group, calling themselves the "Jive Bombers." They performed locally (out of uniform) at various private functions -- such as weddings and fraternity parties -- often with jazz groups organized by local musicians such as Al Hickey and Bob Marshall.

First Row
Robert Braxton, clarinet
Andrew E. Wade, III, clarinet
Al Hickey, clarinet
Wm. Funderburg, saxophone
Charles Ethridge, saxophone
John Irons, trumpet
"Doc" Wheeler, trumpet
J. Chavis, trumpet

Second Row John Willis
"Baby" Greer
"Deany" Clark
Clifton Rice
Robert Young
unidentified
F. Leftrict
Dave Bradford
Alvin Cola

Standing
unidentified
Jarvis
J. Jacquet
Alvin Larkins
Robert Marshall
Edward Middleton
Edwin Middleton

After discharge from the service, some members of the Jive Bombers remained in the area and continued to play professionally for private and public social functions and dances. Additional local musicians who performed with these groups included: Kenny Boas (piano), "Baby" Greer, Ralph Davis (drums), Elmer Gill (piano), Duke Moore (drums), Johnny Moton (piano), Wyatt "Bull" Ruther (base), Leon Vaughn (trumpet), and Gerald Wiggins (piano).


Sources: This information and the band roster were prepared by Jacqueline E. A. Lawson and band member John Willis to correctly caption a photo found in the collection of the National Archives.

Related Topics:   Black Americans | Music & Musicians

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