Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Navalaires Big Band - Dad's Band

These are photos of the Big Band my Dad played drums in. They were called the Navalaires.

Mom took the time in her later years to write on the backs of the photos. The one above says it's in some hotel in Washington D.C., photo dated December 1955, although Dad was notorious for taking photos and waiting as long as a couple years to get them developed.

Here's Dad on the drums, with part of the band name visible, and his initials on the drum in the back, left. She also credits Frank Morrison guitar, Bill Birch up front on horn:

My lovely Mom who went along to listen to Dad and the band play.

Singer unknown, fronting the band:

Bill Birch, a friend of my folks on horn:

My lovely Mother and the guitarist, also good friends of theirs, Frank Morrison and his wife Gerry:

Mom writes on the back of this photo that they are practicing for a gig, and Eli Nan was the band leader:

Dad on drums, front, right:

Mom and Bill Birch:

Mom writes that this is Dad on the drums:

My Dad practicing:

Dad (left) loading up the drums. It has the band name "Navalaires" and his initials

And I believe this is several years later, because all prior photos are Washington D.C., and this is after my folks moved out here to California. Band practice, Dad on drums:

It was interesting to me to go through these photos. Dad rarely talked about this, if ever. It was my Mom who told me all about it.

I wish I had tape recordings of the band, but alas, if there were any, and Dad used to have a reel-to-reel, they were lost long ago.

Here's to you, Dad!

Anyone having any more information about this band, please post, and if possible, a contact email address.



  1. Did you ever get to see your dad play? Looks like your folks knew how to have a good time!

  2. Hi Mz Chickens.

    He played Conga and Bongos for years after at places here and there so yes, in that respect, I did.

  3. I wish I had more info, but alas I was unable to dig any up. I sang in a big band in the 90s for a while and it was a blast.

  4. This was just terrific! Thanks so much, I just love these photos! I can't get enough of looking at the dress and hair styles of your mom and the other ladies...sooooo pretty! Wish I could've been around back then!!

  5. What great photographs!

    That's one thing I feel is missing from life these days...The opportunity to visit clubs and listen and dance to the big bands. People dressed up, women wore fancy dresses and gloves. It was all very elegant.

  6. Things are certainly different now. You are very lucky to have those beautiful photos. Your Dad played congas? How cool. I love congas! Where were all the home movies when that was happening? Maybe someone in blogland will know about the band. Wouldn't that be great? Great post, thanks.

  7. Greetings :) I discovered your blog through one of your followers Anything fits a Naked man, and from reading this post, I am intrigued :)and will add you to my blog list ;)

    This is such a fantastic post with beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing them and the story behind them!

  8. Were the Navalaires Navy musicians? If so, you may be able to get some information about the band or players by visiting the website of the Navy Musicians Association at

    The site includes a Message Board for posting requests for information about former Navy musicians

    Good luck in your search.

  9. Yes, thank you Frank. Dad did play at Officers Clubs and such from what I understand.

    Much appreciated!