LAKE HAVASU CITY – The Lake Havasu City community had the opportunity to celebrate Veterans Day early while listening to various musical genres of the Jazz Ambassadors. The 19-piece ensemble has received many praises from the U.S. and overseas. With their big band sound, the group performs contemporary, vocal solo performances, and patriotic favorites. 

The band performed original, new and old tunes. They have performed in every U.S. state as well as Europe, Japan, India, Mexico, and Canada as well as in joint concerts with notable acts such the Boston Pops. Prior to their band name change to the Jazz Ambassadors in 1969, the group underwent several name changes. 

At the end of World War II, the First Combat Infantry group was formed by Chief Warrant Officer Chester E. Whiting. The entire band consisted of army soldiers filled with musical gifts. All soldiers had served in combat and began touring for a year and a half.The band performed at community outreach concerts which supported War Bonds sales. 

The success of this gave the group the unofficial title of “The Million Dollar Band.”  A commander of the Army Ground Forces, Jacob Devers commissioned Chief Whiting to put together a group in 1946. A group that General Devers said would, “Carry into the grassroots of our country the story of our magnificent Army, and its glorious traditions and achievements.”   

The First Combat Infantry Band became The Army Ground Forces Band in 1948. With its extensive tours around the United States, the band still changed their name again in 1950 to The United States Field Band. Even in 1946, instrumentalists of the Musical Ambassadors doubled with the Glee Club as performing members of the group. 

Eventually, that part of the group name would change their name to Soldiers Chorus. By the 1960s, Studio Band was formed by the band in an effort to reach a younger audience by performing at high schools. By the early 1980s, another component was added to the group to honor high energy popular music. 2013 brought about more versatility while experimenting with current music trends and acoustics.

Later, other new additions of music would be added to enhance the band’s sound. Today, audiences can enjoy country, Americana, and even bluegrass. Thousands of concerts later, the group celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2021. 

The concert was on a Monday night at the Chamber of Commerce Community Stage at London Bridge Beach.  The Jazz Ambassadors performed favorites by Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, and Joe Williams. Locals experienced the band carrying out their mission in action which was to bring a diverse musical collection to national, local, and international audiences. 

The Jazz Ambassadors bring America together by sharing the army story and honoring soldiers through music. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Alexander Davis enjoys the many opportunities that have been experienced while being a member of this historic group. “I really enjoy the travel, getting to meet new people, and having the chance to bring this great music to American audiences.” 

Learn more about The Jazz Ambassadors by visiting armyfieldband.com/about/ensembles/jazz-ambassadors

Phaedra Veronique