I first met Grady when he and Ben Tucker were BillyTaylor's rhythm section at New York's Hickory House in the early seventies. Nothing flashy, but good "time" and good taste. And time and more time and more time. No wonder he had become one of the premier session drummers in NYC. Tate played on many of Wes Montgomery's and Jimmy Smith's most popular recordings, as well as with Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Kenny Burrell, Benny Goodman, Nat Adderley, J.J. Johnson, and Kai Winding, among countless other jazz greats
-- (and not-so-greats. That's Grady and Ben propping me up behind my home page version of Stompin' at the Savoy.)
Late one night, at the end of the last set at the Hickory House, Billy turned to Grady and asked, "Do you want to sing one?" Grady sang Body and Soul and I and the rest of the room was astonished. What an incredible voice! Unbeknownst to most of us, Grady had been singing before he taught himself to play drums. He began singing at age four, in Durham, NC, for church and school audiences, and singing has always been his first love. Arranger Gary McFarland thought enough of Tate's singing voice to record a number of vocal albums for his short-lived Skye label. These early recordings feature an outstanding group of little known songs.
Above, Grady and Ben Tucker suffer through a low point in their respective careers accompanying me at a McCaffrey & McCall Christmas party.
Here's a link to the Drummer World webpage featuring Grady...