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Lucius "Lu" 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 in the "West Coast revival" of Dixieland style jazz music. As with other forms of early jazz revival, such as trad jazz, the musicians tended to be white and had little or no actual connections to New Orleans.
Watters played trumpet by the age of 11 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 11 years, with a small off-period caused by World War II.
Watters, his band, and his band-mates 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 station KLX. Eventually, he broke up the band, and in 1957 he retired from full-time playing.
In 1963 he briefly resumed his music career by playing with Turk Murphy at anti-nuclear rallies. He opposed building a nuclear plant on the 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.
- All Music
- Time article from 1946
- Hear a broadcast of a live performance by Lu Watters
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