I know this young fellow named Gabriel, who is pretty good at tap-dancing while playing a trumpet, which is fairly impressive. I tried it once and fell into a trash can.
There was a time when I didn’t know him. He used to “busk” in front of our Ferry Building here in San Francisco, tap dancing around his trumpet case as admirers would wander by and toss cash into it.
I have a handful of buddies who are San Francisco tour guides, as am I, and we just called him “the tap-dancing trumpet kid.” Our company buses would glide past the Ferry Building and there he’d be, tapping and blowing his heart out. A delightful little show-off!
After awhile I’d set guests up to see him as we’d come down the street. I’d glance way ahead of us and if I saw him out front I’d start talking him up.
“Okay guys, are you ready for a treat? This young guy started performing in front of the Ferry Building some time back, and man, he puts on a show! Watch to your right side, now…”
Sometimes we’d get stopped at the red light in front, so he would really pour it on to his brief, captive audience on the upper level of the open-air tour bus. Tapping, blowing, swirling and singing, all in the space of a minute, and he’d get a big round of applause.
While talking about him with a fellow tour guide one day, I was told his name is Gabriel and that he had recently (at the time) made an appearance on the Ellen Show. I have a clip of that for you at the end of this post.
Not long after that, I was riding the subway to go get my mother-in-law because Mrs. Dave had been admitted to the hospital and was going into emergency surgery, so I was headed to the station in front of the Ferry Building to meet mom and and escort her to the hospital.
I’ve known Gabriel for a handful of years now, but I don’t think I’ve ever told him this: he was also on the train, headed to his Ferry Building gig, and I watched him smile and present a million-dollar-handshake to riders who’d recognized him and wanted to let him know how much they liked his performances.
His enthusiasm and smile proved to be an inspiration I much needed that day, since Mrs. Dave had just been rushed into surgery and I had no idea what the outcome would be. I wasn’t even one of the people who spoke with him on that train, the other people just kind of gushed over him in front of me and his reaction and appreciation for his “fans” made me laugh and smile at a time when I sorely needed it.
Mrs. Dave made it out of surgery okay, and I didn’t officially meet Gabriel until another subway trip several months later, wherein I lucked out because he had his mom with him and I got to meet her too. After a million-dollar-handshake with me, he introduced me to her, and we chatted about his potential career for a few stops until I got off.
I told him that I hosted one of the tour buses that’d come by throughout the day, and I always loved how he played up to the guests on the bus. He recognized me once I brought it up, so we ended up social-media friending, and we still have a private chat occasionally to this day.
He became quite a fixture in front of San Francisco’s Ferry Building for a while, but they asked him to stop busking because they had a policy that prohibits street performers. He’d staked out several other spots around town and down in the train stations, but I guess his family figured it was just time to head to the big apple and see what they could make of a career for him there.
It’s been a handful of years since he was whisked off to New York City, and when we last chatted a few weeks ago, he said he’s working on an album. We miss him here in the city by the bay, but our loss is New York’s gain, and it’s much better for him to be in a mecca of music producers and industry types.
San Francisco has a good music scene, but definitely limited when compared with NYC, which also has network television options and a helluva lot more to offer when it comes to clubs and stage work.
Aside from his talent, one of the most impressive things I’ve taken away from my brief encounters with Gabriel Angelo, aka “Master Blaster G,” is that the kid really has a great heart for people. He disses negativity and embraces positive vibes, always hopeful, caring and patient.
We need more Gabriels in the world. I really hope he makes it, and I was just going to say I hope he invites Mrs. Dave and I to his yacht party someday, but knowing him, anything he’d spend on a yacht would probably just go to making life better for his family and whatever charity he supports.
Giving him a follow would help him out and I guarantee it will make your day better. Below are two clips from his YouTube channel and the third clip was posted by a fellow named Mark Sommer, who encountered him in front of the Ferry Building one day and recorded an impromptu interview.