One has to hand it to the Japanese for caring for the United States jazz tradition in all its guises better than people in the U.S. do. Consider this 1979 album by Eric Gale
. While the funky rubric of soul-jazz was deeply informed by disco in the late '70s, that didn't mean the music being created was without considerable merit. This disc is a case in point -- and it cannot be had in the United States. Teamed with the funk-jazz mafia of Richard Tee
, Harvey Mason
, Steve Gadd
, Ralph MacDonald
, Dave Grusin
, and Grover Washington, Jr.
, as well as Charles Earland
and Idris Muhammad
on the stellar groove jam "Trio" (the album's highlight), Gale
offers up six midrange tunes that run the gamut from deeply funky (and somewhat dated-sounding due to early synth drums) cuts such as "Let-Me-Slip-It-to-You" and Gale
's own "Nezumi" to sweet soulful balladic numbers like "Part of You" and "Holding On to Love," which is informed as much by Stax-Volt R&B as by the late-'70s urban music scene. It's no wonder this music was played so much on the radio; it feels good. This is wonderfully arranged, played, and produced music destined to give pleasure, and Gale
, with his tight, stinging lines that come directly from B.B. King
's blues book, does just that.