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Basie Saxophonist Buddy Tate Dies at 87

Buddy Tate, the tenor saxophonist who rose to prominence as a member of Count Basie’s band in the 1940s, died on February 10 in Arizona. He was 87.

Tate was one of the great saxophonists of the swing era, playing alongside Lester Young in the Basie band.

Born George Holmes Tate in Sherman, Tex., he began his career in the late 1920s, playing around the Southwest. He played briefly with Count Basie in 1934, then began his 10-year association with the Basie orchestra in 1939.

In the 1950s, Tate played with Lucky Millinder, Jimmy Rushing and Hot Lips Page. In 1953 he began to lead his own band. Tate’s playing and recording career lasted through the mid-1990s. He made his final appearance on James Carter’s 1996 album Conversin’ With the Elders.

Tate lived in Massapequa, N.Y., until a few weeks ago, when he moved to Phoenix to live with his daughter.

Originally Published