Charlie Gabriel - 89

 (Translucent Gold Vinyl)


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ASUB 1490
UPC: 098787149005
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New Orleans music legend Charlie Gabriel's first album as a band leader!

Limited edition translucent gold vinyl LP!

"The debut album from beloved New Orleans saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer Charlie Gabriel, 2022's Eighty Nine is a warm and intimate showcase for the longtime Preservation Hall bandmember....While it might have taken all 79 of Gabriel's performing years to make an album, Eighty Nine was well worth the wait." — 4/5 Stars, AllMusic

The senior member of New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Charlie Gabriel, has created what's described as his first album as a band leader, and it's titled for his age — 89.

Gabriel's first professional gig was in 1943, sitting in for his father with New Orleans' Eureka Brass Band. When he was a teenager living in Detroit, he played for Lionel Hampton, alongside the young Charles Mingus. Musicians he's played or toured with include Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennet and Aretha Franklin.

"I've been playing since I was 11 years old," says Gabriel, the most senior member of the legendary Preservation Hall Band, "I never did anything in my life but play music. I've been blessed with that gift that God gave me, and I've tried to nurse it the best way I knew how."

While he's faced plenty of challenges nursing that gift for more than 78 years, none likely rank with last winter's passing of his brother and last living sibling, Leonard, lost to COVID-19. For the first time ever, Gabriel put down his horn, filling his days and weeks instead with dark reflection, a stubborn despondency broken now and then by regular chess matches in the studio kitchen of Hall leader Ben Jaffe, working overtime to bring his friend some light.

One such afternoon also included Joshua Starkman, sitting off in a corner playing his guitar and half-watching the chess from a distance. When Charlie returned the next day, he brought his saxophone. "I was just inspired to try it, to play again. It had been a long time, and a guitar makes me feel free. I do love the sound of a piano, but it takes up a lot of a space, keeps me kind of boxed in."

That day was to be the first session for Eighty Nine, almost entirely the work of Gabriel, Jaffe and Starkman, recorded mostly right there, in the kitchen, by Matt Aguiluz.

Since 2006, Gabriel has been a member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, featuring prominently on That's It, So It Is, and Tuba to Cuba. Eighty Nine was different, and not simply due to a smaller ensemble. "We had no particular plan, or any particular insight on what we were gonna do. But we were enjoying what we were doing, jamming, having a musical conversation," Charlie says, further musing, "Musical conversations cancel out complications."

Eighty Nine includes six standards and three newer pieces on which Gabriel is a writer: "Yellow Moon," "The Darker It Gets" and "I Get Jealous." The record also marks Charlie's return to his first instrument, clarinet, on many of the tracks. "The clarinet is the mother of the saxophone," he says. "I started playing clarinet early in life, and this (taught me) the saxophone."

Finally, Eighty Nine includes three tracks of Charlie singing. "I always sung, but it wasn't my forte to become a singer," he says. "The truth is, people often develop a real relationship with a song once they hear the words. Sometimes I enjoy singing them."



1. Memories of You
2. Chelsea Bridge
3. I'm Confessin'
4. The Darker It Gets
5. Stardust
6. Three Little Words
7. Yellow Moon
8. I Get Jealous

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