Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, March 5

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Superstitions with Disappears on Friday the 13th Review: Screaming Females @ Subterranean, 4/12/12 »

Review Sat Apr 14 2012

Review: Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ S.P.A.C.E. 4/10


Preservation Hall Jazz Band © Shannon Brinkman

Anyone who's considered the option of aging gracefully needs to spend an evening in close proximity to Charlie Gabriel, the 79 year-old clarinetist and saxophonist who plays with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and has a penchant for shaking his booty onstage. Gabriel's family has been playing music since the 1850's, and Gabriel himself has played with jazz luminary Lionel Hampton, among others.

Tuesday's lineup of PHJB musicians read like a who's-who of New Orleans Jazz: trumpeter Mark Braud; the aforementioned Charlie Gabriel; trombonist Freddie Lonzo (who's bio omits his birth-date, stating simply that he was "Born in New Orleans, Louisiana;") pianist Rickie Monie; clarinetist and vocalist Clint Maedgen; drummer Joe "Little Joe" Lastie, Jr.; and tuba player Ron Johnson. The group, whose members number at least in the teens, appeared at S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston as part of their 50-year celebration tour. They will continue to tour through mid-August, playing in venues from coast to coast, and internationally in Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.

The first and only other time I saw the PHJB was in New Orleans when I was a teenager, and it was love at first sight. Seeing them again after all these years only reinforced those feelings. From my seat I had an unobstructed view of Ricky Moody's dark eyebrows perched above the white rims of his hip eyeglasses, his face doubled in the reflection on the piano surface like an optical illusion. Clint Maedgen's pencil-thin mustache and slicked back hair were as evocative of John Waters as Cab Calloway. The tuba is a mighty thing, and Ron Johnson's physique neatly matched the over-sized ampersand of an instrument that snaked its way around his neck and high above his head like a carillon. And Freddie Lonzo? Freddie played tailgate style trombone from his seat, the slide reaching clear off the stage and into the audience. On what seemed to be a dare he held a note for at least five minutes, using the magic of circular breathing as he ambled around the circumference of the room, picked up a couple beers from the bar, and ended his marathon note only to get in front of the mic and sing the vocals of the next number. As much comedian as he is musician, he add libbed: "I love to love you on my eucalyptus machine," as he mimed working out on an elliptical.

There is something magical about brass instruments -- how on earth does anyone know where to put their fingers to make those notes happen? And there's something magical about New Orleans Jazz. You won't have another chance to see the PHJB live unless you go to them, but you can always listen to their music at home, or visit them at Preservation Hall.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15