Buddy Tate

George Holmes “Buddy” Tate was born in Sherman, Texas on February 22, 1914.  He was a much travelled and highly respected Jazz Saxophone and Clarinet player.  His very presence in a club was a guarantee of capacity crowds and a feeling of well-being.

When long-service medals are distributed for work with big bands then Buddy must be considered for he was with Count Basie for six months in 1934 then, from the spring of 1939, he was in the Basie saxophone section for more than ten years. 

He took Herschal Evans’ place and sat alongside a succession of tenor playing colleagues including Lester Young, Paul Bascombe, Don Byas, Lucky Thompson, Illinois Jacquet and Paul Gonsalves.  With such grounding it is hardly surprising that Buddy was every inch a professional or that his solo playing is strongly affected by the blues.  He had an acute understanding of what an audience wants, which probably accounts for the fact that he took a seven-piece band into Harlem’s “Celebrity Club” in 1952 and was still pleasing the crowd there nearly 20 years later.

In 1959 he made his first trip to Europe, as a member of Buck Clayton’s band, and he went back almost every year.  In 1970 he brought the complete “Celebrity Club” band over for a European tour but most often Buddy worked on this side of the Atlantic as a soloist with local musicians.  

photo from cover Buddy Tate: “Body and Soul”

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