An eccentric singer whose improvisations were often futuristic, Leo Watson was way ahead of his time; imagine if Betty Carter had suddenly appeared in the 1930s! Watson started out as a solo vocalist and a journeyman drummer. After moving to New York in 1929, he performed in a novelty act that toured with the Whitman Sisters' show. The backup group (which included Wilbur and Douglas Daniels) soon broke away to become the Spirits of Rhythm, and Teddy Bunn joined as guitarist. Watson was a highly original scat singer, as he showed on the Spirits' recordings of the time (in 1933) and on his guest appearances with the Washboard Rhythm Kings. After the breakup of the Spirits of Rhythm (which featured several of its singing members including Watson playing tiples, a type of ukulele), Watson in 1937 worked on 52nd Street at the Onyx with John Kirby.