Grady Tate Day

January 14, 1932 – October 8, 2017

The Jumpin’ Blues

Drummer and vocalist Grady Tate was born January 14, 1932 in Durham, North Carolina.

Tate began teaching himself drums before he joined the Air Force in 1951, where he received a more formal jazz education.

In 1963 he moved to New York City and became the drummer in Quincy Jones’ band. 

In the 70’s Tate was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet and played in the band for the Tonight Show.

He has been a faculty member at Howard University since 1989.

Tate’s drumming helped to define the hard bop sound heard on classic Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery Verve LPs of the 1960s.

During the 1970s he was the drummer with the “The Tonight Show” band for six years and a member of the “New York Jazz Quartet”.

His most recognizable vocal performances are the songs “I Got Six”, “Naughty Number Nine”, and “Fireworks”, all part of the Schoolhouse Rock animated educational series.

Grady Tate in his element with friends.


Jimmy Smith, organ
Stanley Turrentine, tenor sax
Kenny Burrell, guitar
Grady Tate, drums


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