Albert Gabriel

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The Gabriel family of New Orleans was the source of many fine musicians, but only one with a nickname that could pass muster at a surfing convention. Commonly introduced from bandstands as Dude Gabriel,…
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The Gabriel family of New Orleans was the source of many fine musicians, but only one with a nickname that could pass muster at a surfing convention. Commonly introduced from bandstands as Dude Gabriel, this clarinetist's real name was Albert Gabriel. His brother was Martin Gabriel, Sr., a cornet player and bandleader who supposedly put all of his children to work in a family band as well as enrolling them in his National Orchestra. The latter outfit was active from 1913 until the senior Gabriel's death in 1932. At that point, many of the younger Gabriel siblings began blowing their horns in various combinations on a freelance basis.

The musical associations of Dude Gabriel, who lived to be 95-years-old, include playing with Tom Albert in 1910, followed by activity with the Pacific Brass Band up until 1912. The clarinetist also played in early ragtime groups alongside jamming partner Manuel Manetta. His nephews and nieces include the bassist Percy Gabriel and clarinetist Martin Gabriel, Jr.; the two eventually led a group together in Detroit in the '60s and '70s. There is also banjoist and pianist Clarence Gabriel, drummer Manny Gabriel, and sister Alberta Gabriel, who stuck to piano.

While this "dude" of jazz is fairly obscure, one of his old addresses did manage to make it into a self-guided walking tour of the Algiers neighborhood in New Orleans. These tours were put together by hotel owner and jazz scholar Kevin Herridge, allowing fans to take a peek at where players used to live while keeping the other eye cocked for muggers.