GRADY TATE, 85, of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on Oct. 8 in New York City. Tate’s drumming helped define a particular hard-bop, soul-jazz and organ-trio sound heard on many of the classic Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery albums recorded on the Verve label in the 1960s. A Grammy Award nominee as a singer, he lent his voice to a number of songs in the animated Schoolhouse Rock educational cartoon series on ABC in the 70s.
The drummer in The Tonight Show band for six years, he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet in the ‘70s and played drums and percussion for the Simon & Garfunkel concert in Central Park in 1981. As a sideman, he performed with Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto, and Michel Legrand and was on the faculty at Howard University.