Charlie Gabriel, known to friends and relatives as Charlie G was born in New Orleans, LA and hails from a musical family. His great grandfather, Narcesse Gabriel, who resided in New Orleans in 1856 was a bass player. Charlie's grandfather Martin Joseph, an accordion and cornet player had the National Jazz Band in New Orleans and hosted many jazz musicians. Martin Manuel Gabriel, father of Charles, was a clarinetist and drummer and worked with all of the jazz greats from New Orleans. Martin and his brothers Percy on bass and Clarence on jazz piano formed The Gabriel Brothers Dixie- Land Band.
Charles has played traditional style music with some of the top New Orleans musicians such as Kid Howard, Kid Sheik, Jim Robinson, George Lewis etc. Charlie came to Detroit at the age of fourteen. He was so experienced that he got into the Lionel Hampton outfit at age sixteen. Later, he played with the U.S. Army for two years.
In the early fifties, Charlie played with Harry Leib's Orchestra at the Michigan State Fair with: Dick Clark, Bobby Blue Bland, Connie Frances, Frankie Avalon, Brenda Lee and Bobby Parker, Jr. In 1956, he formed a band and traveled around the country as band leader. He traveled and performed nationwide until accepting the job as band director for Joe Simon in 1969. In the early seventies Charlie was a member of Aretha Franklin's Orchestra. He continued to play throughout the states and abroad. At this time he did free lance work with Nancy Wilson.