Introducing 89: Charlie Gabriel's Debut Album

Article Contributed by Preservation Hall | Published on Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Charlie Gabriel's first professional gig dates to 1943, sitting in for his father in New Orleans’ Eureka Brass Band. As a teenager living in Detroit, Charlie played with Lionel Hampton, whose band just then also included a young Charles Mingus, later spending nine years with a group led by Cab Calloway drummer, J.C. Heard.

While he’s also fronted a bebop quintet, played and/or toured with Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennet, Aretha Franklin and many more, this is the first time since 1990 his name will appear on the front of a record, as a bandleader.

Since 2006, Mr. Gabriel has been a senior member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and has developed a tight musical relationship with bassist and tuba player Ben Jaffe. They, along with guitarist Joshua Starkman, recorded the new album throughout 2020 and 2021.

The album features the highlights “I’m Confessin’” and ”The Darker It Gets,” available now, alongside the forthcoming tracks to include six jazz standards and two originals. Charlie describes the repertoire of “Stardust,” “I’m Confessin’,” and “Three Little Words,” as “standard material that every musician, if they’re an older musician like myself, will have played throughout their career. Every time I play one of these tunes the interpretation is a little bit different.”

We could not be more thrilled for Mr. Gabriel on this momentous release. You can listen to his first two singles, pre-order '89' and watch the video for "I'm Confessin'" here.