Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

383

Eddie Gale: Ghetto Music

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Seeing the titles of Eddie Gale's two Blue Note albums, Ghetto Music and Black Rhythm Happening, might summon an idea of funky soulful electric music, maybe with a healthy scoop of disco production values. Viewing the cover photos of musicians mostly in Monk's habits looking like wild austere heretics, learning that the leader had worked with Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor, and realizing that one album features eleven vocalists ï" the other eight ï" may cause you to readjust your expectations! These two Blue Note sessions, leased and reissued by Water Records of San Francisco, present the listener with a kaleidoscope of late '60s musical sounds.



Presented with musical performances, dramatic readings, skits and colorful costumes, Eddie Gale's Ghetto Music revue aimed to present aspects of ghetto life on stage, utilizing music drawing from the entirety of the Black American music tradition. Based on these CDs, taking in one of their stage performances would have been a memorable experience!

Somewhat a family affair, Eddie Gale's band included Joann Gale Stevens on guitar and vocals, and the Noble Gale Singers, a well-rehearsed chorus of singers. Eddie Gale and Russell Lyle form the musical front line on Ghetto Music, complemented by Joann and the Noble Gale Singers, two bassists and two drummers. The arrangements are very intelligent, presenting the singers as both vocalists and an accompanying ensemble for the soloists. The singing is well integrated with the instrumental melodic elements and the percussion instruments, and the session is exceptionally well recorded by Rudy Van Gelder.

Eddie Gale's trumpet playing reminds me here sometimes of the sound of Kenny Dorham's trumpet though the phrasing is his own, and Russell Lyle's saxophone playing is very fluid with a deep and rich sound, tightly entwined with Gale's horn lines. The tunes have a mixture of free jazz and soul jazz and folk elements, a brew that is very distinctive and exciting to my ears. There are traces of the otherness and the Africanness of the music of Sun Ra, and a bit of the exploratory rock sound of the time. I particularly enjoy Joann Gale Stevens' guitar playing and singing; she adds an intriguing texture to the music with her crisp sound.



Black Rhythm Happening features a smaller vocal ensemble and four guest musicians: saxophonists Roland Alexander and Jimmy Lyons, drummer Elvin Jones, and African drummer John Robinson. The expanded front line of horns is well-utilized. There is an appealing use of space in the melody lines, and Jimmy Lyons and Eddie Gale especially turn in very expressive solos. Propelled by Elvin Jones, the grooves here swing hard.

The opening title tune has a very rock-like opening, sounding at first almost as if it were a tune from the Zombies' repertoire. The music progresses through other styles almost as if the listener were traveling through different areas of a city, culminating in the long celebratory final piece, "Look at Teyonda," where William Norwood plays the vocal role of an astrologer telling of the birth of Eddie Gale's daughter, Teyonda Gale. In some ways this album is looser than its predecessor, but equally satisfying.



Water Records has reissued these two albums with loving care. The remastered sound is excellent, better than many reissues from Blue Note itself. The cover artwork and liner notes are recreated very well. Water has won me over with their recent Albert Ayler, Byard Lancaster and Sonny and Linda Sharrock releases: these are reissues done right. I'll be following their schedule ahead with anticipation!


Track Listing: Ghetto Music: 1. The Rain 2. Fulton Street 3. A Walk With Thee 4. A Understanding 5. The Coming Of Gwilu
Black Rhythm Happening: 1. Black Rhythm Happening 2. The Gleeker 3. Song Of Will 4. Ghetto Love Night 5. Mexico Thing 6. Ghetto Summertime 7. It Must Be You 8. Look At Teyonda

Personnel: Ghetto Music: Eddie Gale (trumpet, soprano recorder, Jamaican thumb piano, steel drum, bird whistle); Russel Lyle (tenor sax, flute); Judah Samuel (bass); James Reid (bass); Richard Hackett, Thomas Holman (drums); Noble Gale Singers
Black Rhythm Happening: Eddie Gale (trumpet); Roland Alexander (soprano saxophone, flute); Jimmy Lyons (alto saxophone); Russell Lyle (tenor saxophone, flute); Judah Samuel, Henry Pearson (bass); Elvin Jones (drums); John Robinson (African drums); Noble Gale Singers.

Title: Ghetto Music | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Water Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Kalamazoo" CD/LP/Track Review Kalamazoo
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Ranky Tanky" CD/LP/Track Review Ranky Tanky
by James Nadal
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Hallways" CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Acknowledgement" CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Lea Áigi" CD/LP/Track Review Lea Áigi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Urban Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Urban Soul
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 20, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!