Freddie's Story (Part 5 of 5)
Freddie Lonzo continued to perform on Bourbon Street, as well as in marching ensembles, including the Onward Brass Band, alongside one of his mentors, Wendell Eugene. It was at that time that he began to visit Preservation Hall. Freddie often came to the Hall to hear "Frog" Joseph, Percy Humphrey, George "Kid Sheik" Collar. With the aid of Andrew Jefferson, the brother of musician Thomas Jefferson, got Freddie his first gig at Preservation Hall. By the mid 1980's, Freddie was a staple at the Hall and soon joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Long before performing at Preservation Hall, Freddie crossed paths and played with numerous members of the Hall's Collective. He paraded with the Olympia Brass Band, took lessons from trombonist Maynard Chatters and was briefly bandmates with drummer Frank Oxley, whose father Dave Oxley, was one of the original members of the Preservation Hall Collective.
Freddie performed and toured the world with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band for nearly thirty years. He performed for royalty, at large music festivals and some of the most famous music venues in the world including New York's Apollo Theatreand Carnegie Hall. Lonzo recorded and is featured on numerous PHJB recordings including, Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program, New Orleans Preservation, Vol. 1, American Legacies: The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and St. Peter & 57th St. He sings and plays trombone on the stand out track "Rattlin' Bones" off of Preservation Hall Jazz Band's first album of original material in their over-fifty years of existence, 2013's That's It!
Lonzo retired from the touring band in 2015 and we are lucky to have him perform more regularly at the Hall. We are forever grateful for his dedication of nearly three decades spreading the gospel of New Orleans music to people all over the world.
Freddie is an active member of the New Orleans music community and still continues his tradition of parading in marching ensembles. Since 2000, Lonzo, a wine enthusiast, parades in the popular French Quarter Mardi Gras parade, The Krewe of Cork, with his band "Freddie Lonzo's Cork Poppas Brass Band." He also performs with the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble which primarily performs songs written during the 1930s.
Lonzo now seeks to mentor younger musicians in Traditional New Orleans Jazz in the way that he was educated by his elders. The internationally-renowned Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews sights Freddie as a major influence to his style. Lonzo laments that songs originally recorded in the early 1920s are rarely performed anymore and seeks to rectify these omissions. Lonzo notes that even the sounds of Brass Bands has changed; in the late 70's, Brass Bands began incorporating funk, soul and early R&B into their repertoire.
As a Hall Fellow of the Preservation Hall Foundation, Freddie continues to be involved in many aspects of Preservation Hall, serving as a community educator and culture bearer within the New Orleans musical community. His commitment to protecting, preserving, and perpetuating Traditional New Orleans Jazz embodies the definition of what it means to be a New Orleans musician. Preservation Hall is proud to have Freddie Lonzo as a part of our family and musical community.
Top photo courtesy of Dino Perrucci.