Buddy Tate


George Holmes "Buddy" Tate (February 22, 1913 – February 10, 2001) was a jazz saxophonist and clarinetist.

Tate was born in Sherman, Texas, and began performing on alto saxophone. According to the website All About Jazz, Tate was playing in public as early as 1925 in a band called McCloud's Night Owls."[1] Tate's 2001 New York Times obituary stated that "he began his career in the late 1920s, playing around the Southwest with bands led by Terrence Holder, Andy Kirk and Nat Towles."[2]

Tate switched to tenor saxophone, making a name for himself in bands such as the one led by Andy Kirk. He joined Count Basie in 1939 and stayed with him until 1948. He had been selected by Basie after the death of Herschel Evans, which Tate stated he had predicted in a dream.

After his period with Basie ended, he worked with several other bands before he found success on his own, starting in 1953 in Harlem. His group worked at the Celebrity Club from 1953 to 1974.[3] In the late 1970s, he co-led a band with Paul Quinichette and worked with Benny Goodman.

In 1979, Tate's hometown invited him to play a concert at Austin College's Sid Richardson Center as part of The Sherman Symphony Pops Series. Mayor Virginia Morriss issued a proclamation declaring October 6 "Buddy Tate Day".[4] Accompanying Tate were Jay McShann, Claude Williams, Buster Smith and Paul Gunther.

In 1980, he was injured by scalding water in a hotel shower, which kept him inactive for four months.[5] He later suffered from a serious illness. The 1990s saw him slow down, but he remained active playing with Lionel Hampton among others.

In 1992, Tate took part in the documentary, Texas Tenor: The Illinois Jacquet Story. In 1996, he recorded with woodwind artist James Carter on the younger man's second release for Atlantic Records, Conversin' with the Elders, along with trumpeters Harry "Sweets" Edison and Lester Bowie, and saxophonists Hamiet Bluiett and Larry Smith.

Tate lived in New York until 2001 when he moved to Arizona to be cared for by his daughter. He died in Chandler, Arizona, twelve days before his 88th birthday.