Eric Gale

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Eric Gale
Gale in Montreux, Switzerland, 1976
Gale in Montreux, Switzerland, 1976
Background information
Born(1938-09-20)September 20, 1938
Brooklyn, New York
DiedMay 25, 1994(1994-05-25) (aged 55)
Baja California, Mexico
GenresJazz, Jazz-funk, R&B
Years active1960s–1990s
LabelsCTI, Kudu, Columbia, Elektra/Musician
Associated actsStuff

Eric Gale (September 20, 1938 – May 25, 1994) was an American jazz and R&B guitarist.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Bed-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. Gale grew up in a diverse household, he was of Black-American, Native-American, and British-American heritage. Gale's grandfather was from Yorkshire, England, who moved to Barbados and met his future Wife there. Gale held dual-citizenship by descent to the UK, where he spent a lot of time going back and forth to visit family and for further studies. Gale began playing guitar at the age of 12. He skipped junior high school. In high school, he visited the home of John Coltrane after school and sat in on the jam sessions, which inspired Eric's style.[1] Gale received his Master of Science in chemistry at Niagara University, he was also on the football team. Later, Gale was pursued by Frank Sinatra to work on the hit song My Way, as mentioned in Frank Sinatra's Autobiography. Eric decided to commit to a musical career full time, instead of getting his Phd in Chemistry.

A close friend of Eric, Roberta Flack, asked Gale to work with her on the Killing Me Softly album. He had just finished recording his Negril album with the Wailers Band, along with Peter Tosh as vocals in Kingston, Jamaica. During that period of time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and JFK were assassinated in the States, and it hit Eric hard; he flew out to Montenegro, Jamaica to clear his mind and reconnect with nature, then was able to finish an amazing album in Kingston with his friends who understood politics and injustice. This was mentioned in the Aston "Familyman" Barrett autobiography. After that, Roberta called Eric and begged him to come back home to New York to help her with the Killing me Softly album. Gale was reluctant, and so she flew the band members to him instead. They ended up going back to the States after some persuading, and the album was a hit.

Gale often worked as a session musician, recording with musicians such as Gary Burton, Joe Cocker, King Curtis, The Drifters, The Flamingos, Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, Illinois Jacquet, Bill Joel, Quincy Jones, Herbie Mann, David "Fathead" Newman, Diana Ross, Mongo Santamaria, Paul Simon, Nina Simone, Jimmy Smith, Clark Terry, Bobby Timmons, and Jackie Wilson.[2] In the 1970s he became a studio guitarist for CTI Records, recording with Bob James, Stanley Turrentine, and Grover Washington Jr., and was a member of the R&B band Stuff.[3] His first album as a solo act was released by Kudu.[3]

Gale died of lung cancer in 1994 at the age of 55 and is survived by his wife Masako Murakami-Gale, their three daughters, and two grandchildren. [2][4]


As leader[edit]

  • Forecast (Kudu, 1973)
  • Multiplication (Columbia, 1977)
  • Ginseng Woman (Columbia, 1977)
  • Part of You (Columbia, 1979)
  • Touch of Silk (Columbia, 1980)
  • Blue Horizon (Elektra Musician, 1982)
  • In the Shade of a Tree (JVC, 1982)
  • Island Breeze (Elektra Musician, 1983)
  • In a Jazz Tradition (EmArcy, 1988)
  • Let's Stay Together (Artful Balance, 1988)
  • Utopia (Rooms, 1998)

With Stuff

  • Stuff (Warner Bros., 1976)
  • Live Stuff (Warner Bros., 1978)
  • Stuff It! (Warner Bros., 1979)
  • Live in New York (Warner Bros., 1980)
  • Made in America (Bridge Gate, 1994)

As sideman[edit]

With Ashford & Simpson

  • Come as You Are (Warner Bros., 1976)
  • Send It (Warner Bros., 1977)
  • Is It Still Good to Ya (Warner Bros., 1978)
  • Stay Free (Warner Bros., 1979)
  • A Musical Affair (Warner Bros., 1980)
  • Street Opera (Capitol, 1982)
  • So So Satisfied (Big Break, 2015)

With Patti Austin

With George Benson

With Ron Carter

  • Anything Goes (Kudu, 1975)
  • Very Well (Polydor, 1987)
  • Yellow & Green (Epic, 1987)
  • I'm Walkin (EmArcy, 1988)

With Hank Crawford

With Fania All-Stars

  • Ella Fue/Juan Pachanga (Columbia, 1977)
  • Ella Fue/Steady (Discophon, 1977)
  • Rhythm Machine (Fania, 1977)
  • Spanish Fever (Columbia, 1978)
  • Cross Over (Columbia, 1979)
  • Commitment (Fania, 1980)
  • Social Change (Dig It, 1981)

With Roberta Flack

With Jun Fukamachi

  • The Sea of Dirac (Kitty, 1977)
  • Evening Star (Kitty, 1978)
  • On the Move (Alfa, 1978)

With Freddie Hubbard

  • A Soul Experiment (Atlantic, 1969)
  • Windjammer (Columbia, 1976)
  • In Concert (CTI, 1976)
  • First Light (CTI, 2003)

With Bob James

  • Two (CTI, 1975)
  • Three (CTI, 1976)
  • BJ4 (CTI, 1977)
  • Heads (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1977)
  • Touchdown (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1978)
  • Lucky Seven (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1979)
  • One On One (Tappan Zee, 1979)
  • Sign of the Times (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1981)
  • The Genie (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1983)
  • 12 (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1984)
  • Double Vision (Warner Bros., 1986)
  • Grand Piano Canyon (Warner Bros., 1990)

With Quincy Jones

  • Walking in Space (A&M, 1969)
  • Gula Matari (A&M, 1970)
  • Smackwater Jack (A&M, 1971)
  • $ (Reprise, 1972)
  • Body Heat (A&M, 1974)
  • I Heard That!! (A&M, 1976)
  • Sounds ... and Stuff Like That!! (A&M, 1978)

With Gladys Knight & the Pips

  • Still Together (Buddah, 1977)
  • The One and Only (Buddah, 1978)
  • About Love (Columbia, 1980)
  • Touch (Columbia, 1981)

With Yusef Lateef

With Ralph MacDonald

  • Sound of a Drum (Marlin, 1976)
  • The Path (Marlin, 1978)
  • Counterpoint (Marlin, 1979)
  • Universal Rhythm (Polydor, 1984)
  • Surprize (Polydor, 1985)

With Van McCoy

  • Disco Baby (Avco, 1975)
  • The Disco Kid (Avco, 1975)
  • The Real McCoy (H&L, 1976)
  • Rhythms of the World (H&L, 1976)

With David "Fathead" Newman

With Esther Phillips

  • From a Whisper to a Scream (Kudu, 1971)
  • Alone Again Naturally (Kudu, 1972)
  • Capricorn Princess (Kudu, 1976)

With Diana Ross

With David Ruffin

  • In My Stride (Motown, 1977)
  • Who I Am (Motown, 1975)
  • Everything's Coming Up Love (Motown, 1976)

With Mongo Santamaria

  • Mongo '70 (Atlantic, 1970)
  • Mongo's Way (Atlantic, 1971)
  • Red Hot (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1979)

With Shirley Scott

With Tom Scott

  • New York Connection (Ode, 1975)
  • Blow It Out (Ode, 1977)
  • Intimate Strangers (Columbia, 1978)
  • Apple Juice (Columbia, 1981)
  • Streamlines (GRP, 1987)
  • Flashpoint (GRP, 1988)
  • Them Changes (GRP, 1990)
  • Keep This Love Alive (GRP, 1991)
  • Reed My Lips (GRP, 1994)

With Johnny "Hammond" Smith

With Richard Tee

  • Strokin (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1979)
  • Natural Ingredients (Tappan Zee, 1980)
  • Real Time (One Voice, 1995)

With Stanley Turrentine

With Grover Washington Jr.

With Sadao Watanabe

  • Bravas Brothers (1983)
  • Fill Up the Night (Elektra Musician, 1983)
  • How's Everything (Columbia, 1980)
  • Morning Island (Flying Disk, 1979)
  • Nice Shot! (Flying Disk, 1980)
  • Orange Express (CBS/Sony, 1981)
  • Rendezvous (Elektra, 1984)
  • Vocal Collection (Warner 2009)

With others


  1. ^ Will, Patrick T.; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). "Gale, Eric". In Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The new Grove dictionary of jazz, vol. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 5. ISBN 1561592846.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  3. ^ a b Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (2007). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press. p. 242. ISBN 0-19-507418-1.
  4. ^ "Eric Gale, 55, Dies; Versatile Guitarist". The New York Times. 3 June 1994.
  5. ^ "Billboard". 1971-08-07. p. 61. Retrieved 2016-07-26.

External links[edit]