Born in New Orleans, Louisiana
Played with: Doc Paulin, Alvin Alcorn, Dr. Michael White, Wynton Marsalis, Bob French, The Olympia Brass Band and Henry Butler.
A true New Orleans Jazz master, Frederick Lonzo plays every style of New Orleans music, from marching brass band to modern jazz. Known for his rough and ready trombone, Lonzo blows an inventive, skilled and progressive trombone style steeped in the old New Orleans tradition. Lonzo picked up his brothers rented horn and began playing music when he was 13 years old. Like many New Orleans Jazz men, his introduction to Jazz was both in the streets of his Uptown neighborhood and in the public school system where he joined the band under the direction of Mercedes Stamp. Lonzo recalls the thrill of seeing the marching bands with their French military uniforms, swords and plumes during the annual Second Line parades that weaved through his neighborhood. His early influences include trombonist Wendell Eugene who blew his horn so loud that you could hear him 2 blocks away and Kid Ory who was the foremost tailgate trombone stylist in traditional jazz. Warned by his mother to follow the band only a few blocks, these early sounds cemented Lonzo's desire to play New Orleans jazz.
His first professional gig, when he was still in his teens, was with EG Gabon and Doc Paulin's Band for the neighborhood parades. Lonzo went on to college at Xavier University where he played in R&B, Rock and Funk bands including The Gladiators, the predecessor of the New Orleans funk band The Batiste Brothers. His first big break came while filling in with Paul Crawford's band on Bourbon Street at the famous club--Your Fathers Mustache, where Lonzo was invited to audition for bandleader and drummer Bob French who led the Storyville Jazz Band. "Working with the Storyville Jazz Band was true learning, working 6 hours a night, it is where I learned how to play", says Lonzo who laments that these type of bands do not exist anymore for younger players. Lonzo went on to play with numerous jazz outfits including The Heritage Hall Band and was even recommended to play with Harold DeJean's famous Olympia Brass Band. While working on Bourbon Street, Lonzo and many other jazz men would visit Preservation Hall and listen to the older men, "there was always something to learn, this was the 2nd revival of New Orleans jazz and we learned the melodies, and all of those songs, musicians now would have to learn from records or from school" states Lonzo, adding, "we learned it from the masters."
Freddie began making appearances with Preservation Hall in the mid-eighties where he toured and played with Percy Humphrey, Kid Sheik, Alonzo Stewart, Manny Crusto, Frank Fields and Freddy Kohlman. "The trombone is limited only by who's standing behind it," says Lonzo, who was strongly influenced by Waldren "Frog" Joseph, Preservation Hall Jazz Band's legendary trombonist. Joseph taught younger trombonists Lucien Barbarin and Lonzo his signature â€œtailgating trombone styleâ€, where the trombone plays the melody just behind the trumpet. Lonzo is now influencing younger musicians including rising trombonist Corey Henry, who counts Freddie Lonzo as a musical mentor.
Lonzo has toured extensively throughout Asia, Africa and Europe. He is highly sought after for recordings and tours and has performed and recorded with such all-star groups as Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band which was featured on Wynton Marsalis critically acclaimed recording Majesty of the Blues.
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