On June 20th, 2020, at age 87, Charlie Gabriel performed for the largest audience of his career — more than 400,000 viewers. It was a virtual fundraiser to aid local musicians. The event was presented by perhaps the most famous New Orleans venue dedicated to the preservation of jazz. Mr. Gabriel is their most senior player.
He has played professionally since he was 11 years old. He says when he was younger he felt like the music was on the page, but then the music became part of who he is.
He says “music is in all of us.” It connects us. “Music touches your emotions,” he says. “It makes you human. Makes you sensitive.” It is a language of its own that stretches across all other language barriers. And when you play music with other people, he says, “we all become one and the same mind-wise, trying to contribute to the same thing at the same time.”
When Mr. Gabriel was a kid, he dreamed of traveling the world. Now he says “I’m 88 years old and this is the best time of my life, because I’m doing just what I want to do.”
In traveling the world, he’s played music with countless artists. Some of the greatest musicians out there. Here’s what he has to say about that experience. Here are the reflections of a true Champion: “When I play a song, all my expertise, all the places I have been, all the things I have seen is in my music. That’s my experience that makes me what I am. I’ve become the music. Your experience comes out in your horn.”
88 years old and at the top of his game, turning his talent to help others struggling to make it in this world. Thank you Charlie Gabriel. You are an inspiration. We are proud to honor you as a Peoples Health Champion.