Grady Tate, 85; jazz drummer
Grady Tate, a jazz musician who was nominated for Grammy Awards as a singer but was best known as a versatile drummer who helped propel the "soul-jazz" style of the 1960s and who appeared on hundreds of albums, died Oct. 8 at his home in New York. He was 85.
The cause was complications from Alzheimer's disease, his son, Grady Tate Jr., said in a social media posting.
Beginning in the early 1960s, Tate was one of the most sought-after drummers in music, performing in big bands led by Quincy Jones and with singers as varied as Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne and Bette Midler. He played delicately enough to work in a trio led by pianist Billy Taylor, yet also had enough energy to anchor the "Tonight Show" band with Doc Severinsen for six years in the 1960s and 1970s. He performed with Simon and Garfunkel at the duo's celebrated 1981 reunion concert at New York's Central Park.
A self- taught drummer, Tate was known for a crisp, controlled style that was both precise and relaxed. He seldom launched into loud, showy drum solos.
"I hate solos," he told Modern Drumming. "I can't play one to save my life. I think of myself as someone who can keep time."
Although drumming was his bread- and- butter as a musician, Tate was also a singer with a rich, burnished baritone well suited for ballads. He released his first vocal album, "Windmills of My Mind," in 1968. His contributions to the animated "Schoolhouse Rock" short films of the 1970s, "I Got Six" and "Naughty Number Nine," received Grammy nominations.