Camp Moffett C Band

Chicago, Great Lakes bases

The C band was not, as its name suggests, the third best of the African-American bands at Great Lakes but was, rather, comprised of the youngest recruits, like Lou Donaldson. Ship’s Company A Band stayed together at Great Lakes during the war; musicians being groomed for duties elsewhere comprised the players in the B and C bands, and the players in these bands came and went. Those in Ship’s Company A Band were generally more experienced players in professional bands prior to the war. That Len Bowden put together an all-star band of the best players, the Great Lakes Radio Band, from the three bands suggests that all of them had some very good players.

Lou Donaldson on saxophone and Carl Foster on piano, jamming in New Orleans. Courtesy of Carl Foster.