San Francisco Chronicle

Gale lends a hand by shar­ing his mu­sic with stu­dents

- By She­lah Moody Chron­i­cle Staff Writer Musicians · Music · Jazz · Celebrities · Miles Davis · San Jose · California · San Francisco Bay Area · Oakland, CA · Brooklyn · Troop · Illinois · New York City · Stanford University · University of California, Berkeley · Berkley, CA · Stanford · Martin Luther King, Jr. · Martin Luther · Martin Luther King · Sun Ra · Norman Mineta · San Jose State University · San José State University · Kenny Dorham · Illinois Jacquet · Blue Note Records · Philadelphia · Philly Jazz

Be­tween record­ing, per­form­ing and tour­ing with some of the world’s finest mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing Miles Davis, Ce­cil Tay­lor and Sun Ra, trum­peter Ed­die Gale has men­tored young mu­si­cians and pro­moted mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and world peace through jazz.

Gale, who was pro­claimed as San Jose’s am­bas­sador of jazz by Mayor Norman Mineta in 1974, or­ga­nized the Ever­green Youth Adult Jazz So­ci­ety, the We’re Jazzed! Youth/Adult Jazz Fes­ti­val and the an­nual Con­cert for World Peace and Peace Po­etry Con­test. Gale has set up mu­si­cal im­pro­vi­sa­tion work­shops at San Jose State Univer­sity and has worked with Mu­sic in Our Schools, in re­sponse to bud­get cuts in arts pro­grams in pub­lic schools.

In 2001, Gale re­ceived the Sankofa Award for 25 years of ser­vice from the Cal­i­for­nia Arts Coun­cil, where he was artist in res­i­dence for three years. At 65, Gale, who lives in San Jose with his sec­ond wife, Ge­or­gette, shows no in­di­ca­tion of re­tir­ing. In Au­gust, Gale and his band played the San Jose Jazz fes­ti­val, and he con­tin­ues to per­form around the coun­try and work with young peo­ple.

Over the years, Gale has men­tored Bay Area mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing Va­lerie Mih, a clas­si­cally trained pi­anist who now plays in his ensem­ble, the Ed­die Gale Now band. Mih met Gale six years ago when she par­tic­i­pated in his weekly work­shop at the Black Dot theater in Oak­land, spon­sored by the Cal­i­for­nia Arts Coun­cil.

“I was one of the few women there,” said Mih, 35. “(Ed­die) was re­ally en­cour­ag­ing from the start. He en­cour­aged me to keep at­tend­ing the jam ses­sions, and he even­tu­ally asked me to join his band. I’ve learned that jazz mu­sic takes many forms. We play both straight-ahead and tra­di­tional jazz. We play avant-garde and spir­i­tual jazz that has some med­i­ta­tive el­e­ments. In his jazz work­shops, most of the time, we were do­ing free im­pro­vi­sa­tion, which was a com­ple­ment to my classical train­ing. One of the main things I’ve learned from him is how to lis­ten to what other mu­si­cians are do­ing and re­spond in the mo­ment.”

Gale, who was born and raised in Brook­lyn, be­gan play­ing the trum­pet, flugel­horn and cor­net as a mem­ber of the Cub Scouts Troop 219 march­ing band. He con­tin­ued to play through his time with the Ex­plor­ers scout troop.

“In those days, the goal was to grad­u­ate from high school and then get a civil ser­vice job, work­ing for the city in some ca­pac­ity,” said the raspy-voiced mu­si­cian. “A lot of the scouts did that, but I stuck with mu­sic.”

Gale re­ceived private mu­sic lessons from an es­tab­lished trum­peter named Kenny Dorham. His men­tors in­cluded Sun Ra, Tay­lor and Illi­nois Jac­quet, and Gale sat in with jazz greats such as Sunny Stitt.

“I was for­tu­nate, be­cause in those days, the mu­si­cians were avail­able to young peo­ple, if you were re­ally into it,” he said. “At some of the jam ses­sions and at af- ter-hours clubs, you’d get in­volved by sit­ting in. Th­ese days, they don’t have that abil­ity to learn di­rectly from the masters.”

Gale rec­og­nized his abil­ity to con­nect with young peo­ple as a teenager in New York.

“I be­came a fa­ther very early, at age 17,” said Gale, who has six chil­dren and 12 grand­chil­dren. “I went to the schools that my chil­dren at­tended and played there be­fore I came to Cal­i­for­nia. That be­came part of my style — help­ing young peo­ple — be­cause I got a lot of help grow­ing up with mu­sic my­self.”

Gale and his fam­ily moved to San Jose in 1972. He first vis­ited the Bay Area dur­ing a gig with Tay­lor in 1957.

“I was a Stan­ford res­i­dent for three weeks to a month,” said Gale. “We played the Berke­ley Jazz Fes­ti­val that Miles Davis headed up at the time. Dur­ing my time in the Bay Area, I made friends with some of the stu­dents at Stan­ford. Some of them came to New York and heard me play at a club. They sug­gested that I come back out there and bring my band. They had a pro­gram called the Black Fam­ily. I stayed on and some peo­ple of­fered me a home in San Jose, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Gale’s ex­pan­sive discog­ra­phy in­cludes full-length record­ings such as “Se­crets of the Sun” (Saturn Records, 1965), “Of Love and Peace” (Blue Note Records, 1966), “Lan­quid­ity” (Philly Jazz Records 1978), “The Other Side of the Sun” (Sweet Earth Records, 1978) and “On Jupiter” (Saturn, 1979).

In keep­ing with his mantra of in­ner peace, Gale is par­tic­u­larly proud of the Con­cert for World Peace and Peace Po­etry Con­test, which was held at the Martin Luther King Li­brary in San Jose in Septem­ber. The con­certs, mul­ti­cul­tural show­cases for young artists, started out 10 years ago at San Jose State Univer­sity.

The first par­tic­i­pants were high school stu­dents, said Gale. “We had the stu­dents or­ga­nize the whole day, and they in­vited other schools to send rep­re­sen­ta­tion to their school for world peace.

“The in­cen­tive is to get young peo­ple to un­der­stand that in their lives and in their com­mu­ni­ties, there are peo­ple who don’t just talk about it, but do some­thing to try to cre­ate world peace. We hope that some of the young peo­ple, when they be­come adults and go into their cho­sen fields, that they will help make bet­ter de­ci­sions about life be­cause of hav­ing some kind of in­volve­ment.”

For in­for­ma­tion on Ed­die Gale’s jazz pro­grams, call (408) 294-3173 or visit www.ed­d­ie­gale. com. E-mail She­lah Moody at smoody @sfchron­i­cle.com.

 ?? Liz Hafalia / The Chron­i­cle ?? Trum­pe­ter Ed­die Gale
has helped oth­ers dis­cover their tal­ents by bring­ing mu­sic to chil­dren in pub­lic schools.
Liz Hafalia / The Chron­i­cle Trum­pe­ter Ed­die Gale has helped oth­ers dis­cover their tal­ents by bring­ing mu­sic to chil­dren in pub­lic schools.

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