Lu Watters

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Lucius Watters (December 19, 1911 in Santa Cruz, California – November 5, 1989 in Santa Rosa, California) was a trumpeter and bandleader of the Yerba Buena Jazz Band.

Watters played trumpet by the age of eleven and had his first work on a cruise ship. He then played with Bob Crosby before deciding to form a Dixieland-style band. He founded the Yerba Buena Jazz Band in 1939 and it became a leading force in the Dixieland revival for the next eleven years, with a small off-period caused by World War II.

Watters, his band, and his bandmates made numerous recordings for Jazz Man Records, Melodisc Records, and Good Time Jazz labels. Personnel during that time included Lu Watters on trumpet or cornet, Bob Scobey on trumpet, Turk Murphy on trombone, Bob Helm on clarinet, Wally Rose on piano, Clancy Hayes on banjo and vocal, Dick Lammi on tuba, and Bill Dart on drums.

In 1950, Watters opened a live music and restaurant venue called Hambone Kelly's, in El Cerrito, California, and live broadcasts were carried by radio statio KLX. Eventually, he broke up the band, and in 1957 he retired from full-time playing.

In his life after music, Watters studied geology and lectured on the subject at Sonoma State University. His main area of interest was coastal earthquake conditions. He also became a chef.

In 1963 he briefly resumed his music career by playing with Turk Murphy at anti-nuclear rallies. He opposed building a Pacific Gas and Electric nuclear plant at the seismically precarious Bodega Bay. In organizing the resistance to that siting proposal, he recorded an album on the Fantasy label with Rose, Helm, Bob Mielke, and Barbara Dane. It included the title track, , "Blues over Bodega," and another tune, San Andreas Fault. This related to his interest in geology and the study of earthquakes. After that, he returned to his life as a geologist and chef.[1]

In 1961, a new mineral from California was named wattersite in his honor.[2]


  1. ^ Blues Over Bodega. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  2. ^ Roberts, Andrew C.; Bonadri, Maurizio; Erd, Richard C.; Criddle, Alan J.; Le Page, Yvon (1991). "Wattersite Hg+14Hg+2Cr+6O6 a new mineral from the Clear Creek claim San Benito Country, California" (PDF). The Mineralogical Record. 22: 269–272. Retrieved 29 April 2017.

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