(George Holmes) Buddy Tate was born in Sherman, Texas on February 22 1913. He learned his craft playing with territory bands around the American Southwest in the early 1930's, they included McCloud's Night Owls, the St Louis Merrymakers (where he first met Herschel Evans),Terrence Holder (his first big band,later taken over by Andy Kirk), Kirk's own group and Nat Towles's fine orchestra.
In 1939 he was invited by Count Basie to replace Evans, who had died suddenly. "I dreamed he had died", Tate told writer Stanley Dance later, "and that Basie was going to call me. It happened within a week or two: I still have the telegram". He stayed with Basie for nine happy years, then worked with Lucky Millinder, Hot Lips Page and Jimmy Rushing's Savoy band before entrepeneur Irving Cohen offered him the residency at the Celebrity Club on 125th Street in Harlem.Tate stayed at the club for 21 straight years "until the clientele began to change: they wanted rock and didn't appreciate what we were doing so we quit".
All through the 1950's he had recorded regularly, an occasional tour with Buck Clayton so as to keep himself in the public eye, which helped when he chose to freelance again, as there were immediate keen offers for his services.
On the European circuit he teamed up with Jim Galloway and Jay McShann and after the death of Jimmy Forrest he teamed up with trombonist Al Grey.
In the U.S. he worked the festival circuit and co-led a band with Bobby Rosengarden at the Rainbow Room.
Seriously hurt when a hotel-room shower badly scalded him in 1981, Tate was soon back on the road, playing with the same broad-as-a-mile sound, thick vibrato and fine time.
A more recent car accident slowed him down for a while, but he was back in the studio in January 1996 with young saxophonist James Carter ("Conversin' with the Elders" Atlantic CD 82908)
|Recommended recordings:||"Groovin' with Tate"||Prestige PRCD-24152|
|"Hard Blowin': Live at Sandy's"||Muse MCD-5418|
|"The Ballad Artistry of Buddy Tate"||Sackville CD2-3034|