The prominent musician, born in Iowa and now living in Studio City, Calif., talked to the Los Angeles Times about her illustrious 95-year career career.
Gilbert's music career began in 1912, when she danced a Scottish fling at the age of 7, the Times said. By the 1920s, she stepped onto the jazz stage in that seminal era of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington.
By 1981, Gilbert was still playing a blazing tenor sax on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" and later on the sitcom "The Golden Girls," the Times said.
"The first time I picked up a sax, I said, 'This is it!' I loved the feel of it -- free and loose," she said.
Gilbert told the Times there were many girl bands in the 1920s and 1930s, when woman were not allowed to play on stage with male musicians. She said that during the Depression, men used to dress up in drag trying to get a job with her band.
Gilbert came from a musical family. Her father was a violinist and conductor and her mother was an opera singer.