Eddie Gale, a pioneering jazz trumpeter who work on numerous classics with Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor and many more, died Friday (July 10) after a battle with cancer. He was 78.
Born in Brooklyn in 1941, Gale got a frontrow seat with the finest jazz musicians of the era, including Bud Powell, the bebop pianist who lived nearby, and trumpeter Kenny Dorham.
A fast learner, he soon found himself in jam sessions with the likes of drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach and saxophonists Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Stitt, and Jackie McLean.
In the early ’60s, a 20-something Gale connected with Sun Ra. A long-standing professional relationship was formed and Gale toured and recorded with Ra’s Arkestra throughout the ’60s and ’70s. His output with the intergalactic jazz icon included the 1965 set Secrets of the Sun and late ’70s recordings Lanquidity, The Other Side of the Sun, and On Jupiter.
Gale left an “incredible legacy” at Blue Note, reads a statement from the venerated label, including Larry Young’s Of Love And Peace, and Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures, on which he played alongside free jazz standouts Jimmy Lyons (alto saxophone), Henry Grimes (bass), and Andrew Cyrille (drums).
As a bandleader, he cut the “visionary” late ‘60s albums Ghetto Music and Black Rhythm Happening for Blue Note.
Away from the stage and studio, Gale was an advocate for musicians. He launched Jazz Musicians’ Self-Help Healthcare fundraisers, donating proceeds to the Jazz Foundation of America, a not-for-profit which helps jazz and blues musicians in need of emergency funds.
And for two decades, Gale produced the annual Concerts for World Peace and Peace Poetry Contest and annual Concerts for Inner Peace in America and the World.
In 2017, Gale released a 50th anniversary edition of Eddie Gale’s Ghetto Music.