Gale was born in Brooklyn in 1942, but moved to San Jose, California in 1972, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1974, Gale was named “San Jose’s Ambassador of Jazz,” for his work bringing jazz music into local schools. Gale’s early days in music were spent playing with the legendary Sun Ra, as well as pianist Cecil Taylor.
In 1968, Gale released his first solo album—Eddie Gale’s Ghetto Music—which was released by Blue Note. His subsequent Blue Note release Black Rhythm Happening arrived in 1969. Gale went on to record more than a dozen records as a bandleader for the remaining five decades, including 2004’s Afro-Fire.
Gale helmed multiple charitable and philanthropic organizations in his lifetime; he created Jazz Musicians’ Self-Help Healthcare fundraisers, which donated proceeds to the Jazz Foundation of America, organized the Evergreen Youth Adult Jazz Society, and more. In 2018, Gale released a reimagining of Eddie Gale’s Ghetto Music to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the original LP.