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Drummer and Singer Grady Tate Dies

Performer and educator, 85, played with Jimmy Smith, Grant Green, Stanley Turrentine and other legends

Photo of Grady Tate (photo c/o artist)
Grady Tate in 2012 (photo by David Sokol)

“No one ever made the beat sing and the melody swing with any more poetry and power than Grady Tate. Our music never had a better friend, and neither did I.” – Todd Barkan, jazz record producer

The drummer and vocalist Grady Tate, a veteran of hundreds of jazz recording sessions, died on Oct. 8, according to longtime colleague and producer Todd Barkan. He was 85 years old. Tate was a dual threat as a singer and a drummer, performing in the latter role on many seminal LPs with the likes of Jimmy Smith, Oliver Nelson and Wes Montgomery. Most closely associated with the soul-jazz style of the ’60s popularized by Smith, Montgomery, Lou Donaldson and Stanley Turrentine, he also recorded about a dozen albums as a leader, nearly all featuring his sultry baritone voice as well as his stylish drumming.

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