Eric Gale

Eric J. Gale (September 20, 1938 – May 25, 1994) was an American jazz and session guitarist.

Eric Gale
Gale in Montreux, Switzerland, 1976
Gale in Montreux, Switzerland, 1976
Background information
Born(1938-09-20)September 20, 1938
Brooklyn, New York, United States
DiedMay 25, 1994(1994-05-25) (aged 55)
Baja, California, Mexico
GenresJazz, Motown, Jazz Fusion
Occupation(s)Composer, Producer, Session musician

Early life and careerEdit

Born in Bed-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, Gale began playing guitar at the age of 12. A gifted wunderkind, Gale skipped Jr. High school. Later, In High school, he would visit John Coltrane's home after school, and by sitting in on Coltrane's home sessions, he learned and got musical inspiration. Mrs. Coltrane always offered him snacks.[1] Gale received his Master of Science in chemistry at Niagara University, then pursued a musical career. At this time, He was sought out by Frank Sinatra, as mentioned in Sinatra's Autobiography. Sinatra asked Gale to collaborate with him and that's when the hit song, "My Way" was born. Along with being a huge part of the Motown sound, Gale played on songs with the Jackson Five including solos such as "Ben", and later Michael Jackson's "Bad", "Thriller" albums, Diana Ross and The Supremes, to name a few. Gale worked with Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix. Jimi looked up to Eric and was inspired by him, as mentioned in interviews held with Jimi by newspapers in Paris, France. Jimi was let go from the trio by Little Richard due to differences in work style. Gale contributed to accompaniments for such stars as Maxine Brown, the Drifters, and Jesse Belvin. He soon began to attract the attention of King Curtis and Jimmy Smith, who began recommending him for studio work.[2] He became known first as a session musician in the 1960s, appearing on an estimated 500 plus albums. Among the many artists he recorded with were Mose Allison, Aretha Franklin, he also played in Aretha Franklin's stage band, Bob James, Paul Simon (Gale plays a supporting role in the 1980 film One-Trick Pony, written by and starring Simon), Lena Horne, Quincy Jones, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Peter Tosh, Grover Washington, Jr., Herbie Mann, Esther Phillips, Joe Cocker, Carly Simon, The Beatles, Van Morrison, Al Jarreau, Dave Grusin, Lee "Scratch" Perry,[3] Paul Douglas[3] and Billy Joel.[4]. Gale was also a part of the group of legendary artists, in the sound track to, The Wiz and so much more.


Gale died of lung cancer in May 1994 at the age of 55. He is survived by his wife, Masako Murakami Gale, four daughters, and one granddaughter.[5]


As leaderEdit

  • Forecast (Kudu, 1973)
  • Negril (Micron, 1975)
  • Multiplication (Columbia, 1977)
  • Ginseng Woman (Columbia, 1977)
  • Part of You (Columbia, 1979)
  • Touch of Silk (Columbia, 1980)
  • In the Shade of a Tree (JVC, 1982)
  • Blue Horizon (Elektra/Musician, 1981)
  • Island Breeze (Elektra/Musician, 1983)
  • Let's Stay Together (Artful Balance, 1988)
  • Utopia (Rooms, 1998)
  • In a Jazz Tradition - Ron Carter presents Eric Gale (Mercury, 1988)

With Stuff


With Ashford & Simpson

  • Come as You Are (1976)
  • So So Satisfied (1977)
  • Is It Still Good to Ya? (1978)
  • A Musical Affair (1980)
  • Street Opera (1982)

With Patti Austin

With George Benson

With Hank Crawford

With Roberta Flack

With Aretha Franklin

With Jun Fukamachi

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

With Greg Hatza

  • The Wizardry of Greg Hatza (1967)
  • Organ-ized" Jazz (1968)

With Freddie Hubbard

With Bob James

  • Two (1975)
  • Three (1976)
  • Four (1977)
  • Heads (1977)
  • Touchdown (1978)
  • Lucky Seven (1979)
  • One on One (1979)
  • Grand Piano Canyon (1990)

With Billy Joel

With J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding

With Quincy Jones

With Al Kooper

With Yusef Lateef

With Ralph MacDonald

  • Sound of a Drum (1976)
  • The Path (1978)
  • Counterpoint (1979)
  • Universal Rhythm (1984)
  • Surprise (1985)

With Jimmy McGriff

With Van Morrison

With Idris Muhammad

With David "Fathead" Newman

With Esther Phillips

  • Burnin' (1970)
  • From a Whisper to a Scream (1972)
  • Capricorn Princess (1977)

With Jerome Richardson

With Diana Ross

With Lalo Schifrin

With Diane Schuur

  • Love Songs (1993)

With Shirley Scott

With Tom Scott

  • New York Connection (1975)
  • Blow It Out (1977)
  • Intimate Strangers (1978)
  • Apple Juice (1981)
  • Flashpoint (1988)
  • Streamlines (1987)

With Paul Simon

With Richard Tee

  • Strokin' (1978)
  • Natural Ingredients (1980)
  • Real Time (1992)

With Stanley Turrentine

With Grover Washington Jr.

With Sadao Watanabe

  • Morning Island (1979)
  • How's Everything (1980)
  • In the Shade of a Tree (1981)
  • Rendezvous (1984)

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. ^ Album notes by Chris Albertson, Contributing Editor, Stereo Review
  3. ^ a b Katz, David (2006). The Return of Django. People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee 'Scratch' Perry. London: Omnibus Press. p. 83.
  4. ^ "Eric Gale: Forecast". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  5. ^ "Eric Gale, 55, Dies; Versatile Guitarist". The New York Times. 3 June 1994.
  6. ^ "Billboard". 1971-08-07. p. 61. Retrieved 2016-07-26.

External linksEdit