Eddie Gale, 1941-2020

Jazz trumpeter Eddie Gale. Posted by Baye Kambui on mentalunrest.
Image from @JazyJef on Twitter.

A definition of ‘That legend hardly anyone talks about.’

We lost trumpeter Eddie Gale, a trusted luminous ray of the Jazz avant garde; Ghetto Music evangelist; warrior among the off-beat legion.

His pedigree — which includes collaborations with John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Larry Young, Elvin Jones, and performances with Hip-Hop ensemble The Coup — is unquestionable.

His playing chops earned equal respect.

Gale’s music as a leader found its way to me through the acclaimed Ghetto Music release in a Fort Greene, Brooklyn record store. The hard spiritual swing of “The Rain” — less than a quarter of the way into the tune — made me buy two album copies before the song ended.

But Gale’s style is larger than Spiritual Jazz. His abstract bars in recordings such as Cecil Taylor’s 1966 Unit Structures, Larry Young’s 1967 Of Love and Peace, and Sun Ra’s Lanquidity showcases Gale’s versatility and wicked sense of groove.

I embedded some tunes below that feature Eddie Gale. “The Rain” is a righteous monster and I consider the Ghetto Music album required listening.

Gale appeared with the great Larry Young on the Of Love and Peace album. Here’s the title track.

Enter, Evening (Soft Line Structure)” from Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures is so conceptually dense that you’ll pick up new phrasing with each listen.

Gayle also played modern, Bay-Area Funk with Pat Thomas’ band, Mushroom. “Our Love” sounds full-blown cinematic.

And here are the Eddie Green All Stars at the 2007 Vision Festival in New York City. Gale is accompanied by Prince Lasha on baritone sax, Kidd Jordan on tenor sax, Valerie Mih on piano, William Parker on bass, Alvin Fielder on drums, and dancer Patricia Nicholson-Parker. Heads-up: there’s a sound gap just before the performance starts.

Rest in Love, Brother Gale …

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