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Ginseng Woman / Multiplication

Eric Gale

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Album Review

BGO's 2013 two-fer pairs Eric Gale's first two albums for Columbia, Ginseng Woman and Multiplication. Both records were produced by Bob James, who brings a synth-savvy snap to these '70s fusion platters, sessions that were designed in the wake of Donald Byrd's vocal-heavy jazz-funk but carry perhaps just a few too many analog synths. Gale doesn't begin to dominate until Multiplication — Ginseng Woman is so thoroughly a groove album it's hard to discern solos underneath its pristine veneer — but soon he starts carving out space for some seriously satisfying single-line runs. And those grooves are enjoyable too — perhaps the reggae revision of "Sara Smile" doesn't quite gibe and there are certainly too many incidents of thick backing vocals on both albums, making this heavily redolent of its time, but much of the appeal is its polyester shimmer, and when these two records are seen as R&B-heavy fusion workouts, not jazz sessions, they're fun pieces of fleeting mood music.

Biography

Born: 20 September 1938 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A guitarist who was used for many R&B-oriented dates and occasionally played jazz, Eric Gale had an appealing sound and was best while performing lazy melodic blues. He was most significant to the jazz world in the early '70s, when he recorded often as a sideman for CTI, later on with the group Stuff, and on isolated...
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Ginseng Woman / Multiplication, Eric Gale
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