Gilbert Watson

Gilbert Watson. Dance band leader, pianist, b Glasgow, 31 Oct 1896, d Peterborough, Ont, 12 Aug 1959. He studied piano with Michael Hambourg and Harvey Robb and played at the Allen Theatre in Toronto.

Watson, Gilbert

Gilbert Watson. Dance band leader, pianist, b Glasgow, 31 Oct 1896, d Peterborough, Ont, 12 Aug 1959. He studied piano with Michael Hambourg and Harvey Robb and played at the Allen Theatre in Toronto. He also worked for several local music retailers, among them Mason & Risch (in the Victrola department) and Whaley Royce (as store manager). In the mid-1920s he formed his own dance band, which played at the Prince George Hotel (where it was heard on the Toronto radio station CFRB) and ca 1935-42 at the Old Mill. It also appeared in dance pavilions around Toronto. The seven or eight musicians of the Watson orchestra, including the trumpeter Kurt (or Curtis) Little, recorded in Montreal for Starr in 1925 and Domino in 1926; among the nine issued titles (listed in the Canadian Jazz Discography) are some (eg, Bamboola and St. Louis Blues) that stand among the first jazz recordings by a Canadian band. Watson retired from music in 1942 to operate a summer resort, Gil-Mar Lodge, and dance hall at Sturgeon Lake in the Kawartha region of Ontario.