A Grandson's Gift — A Spotlight — For His Grandfather's WWII BandBreaking News
tags: music, World War 2
Jason Burt, of Clarksburg, Calif., knew his grandfather played the trumpet in World War II.
He had listened to stories about the 746th Far East Air Force Band boosting morale for servicemen on the front lines of the Philippines theater.
But, for decades, the family hadn't seen his grandfather's vinyl recordings of the ensemble until 2019, when they were clearing out their grandparents' house.
"I knew they were around, and I was kind of hoping they would turn up at some point. And we found them in the attic," Burt told NPR's Morning Edition.
Last year, the pandemic gave him time to borrow a record player and finally listen to his late grandfather's Army Air Force band.
"I put the music on and it was like my own private concert with my grandpa," he said. "It was like he'd never left. I was back in 1946 and getting to hear my ... grandpa and his young lungs playing the trumpet."
Burt, a middle school history teacher and historian, believes this album is the only known recording of a front line band from WWII to have surfaced.
"When the album ended, I knew what direction I needed to go with it."
He published an album, Sentimental Journey by 746th FEAF, last year for Veterans Day. It consists of swing tunes, mostly ballads, along with the upbeat "Perdido," all recorded 75 years ago at a camp outside Manila.
Sentimental Journey ends with an oral history from his grandfather, Richard Burt, recorded in 1986, detailing his wartime career, including performances on a makeshift stage near the front lines.
Note: Jason Burt has written about his grandfather and the 746th for HNN.
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