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Title Show Information
GRADY TATE QUINTET: HALF NOTE CD RELEASE PARTY

2007-07-24
Showtime: 8:00PM
Doors Open at 6:00PM

MAKE RESERVATION
BAR TABLE
$15.00 $25.00


Come celebrate the release of Grady Tate's latest CD on Half Note Records, "FROM THE HEART: SONGS SUNG LIVE A THTE BLUE NOTE"


[ Complete Show Schedule... ]
GRADY TATE QUINTET: Half Note CD Release Party!
FEATURING:
Grady Tate, vocals
Akiko Tsuruga, piano
Lance Murphy, tenor sax
Noriko Ueda, bass
Shinnosuke Takahashi, drums
Wilson "Chembo" Corniel, percussion

A consummate timekeeper, swinger and session drummer since the early 1960s, drummer Grady Tate has come to define the art of pocket playing and jazz syncopation. His personal touch on the kit has graced countless recordings by such jazz greats as Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith, Stan Getz, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, J.J. Johnson, Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Kenny Burrell, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Oscar Peterson as well as pop stars Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Burt Bacharach, Carly Simon, Phoebe Snow and Diana Ross, to name a few.

Given his prolific track record as a drummer, it may come as a surprise to some that Tate is also a superb singer. Possessing a beautiful, rhythmically agile baritone that places him firmly in the great tradition of Johnny Hartman, Billy Eckstine, Arthur Prysock and Lou Rawls, Tate (at age 74) is a singing talent well deserving of wider recognition.

From The Heart: Songs Sung Live at the Blue Note captures Tate in fine voice accompanied by pianist Bill Charlap, bassist Jay Leonhardt, saxophonist Bill Easley, trumpeter Glen Drews and drummer Dennis Mackrel. Together they provide stellar support behind Grady, who radiates old school charm, elegance and class on a spirited collection of ballads, blues, swingers and sambas. “I dearly enjoyed the tunes that I did,” says Tate, “because they’re works of art.”

The group opens its set with “You Are My Sunshine,” an upbeat number penned by the one-time governor of Louisiana, Jimmie Davis. “I like to use that as a kind of greeting,” explains Tate. “It says, ‘Hello, welcome, I’m glad you’re here.’” Fueled by Mackrel’s supple brushwork, the jaunt sets an ebullient mood.

He puts a funky twist on a 1920s staple by Spencer Williams, “Everybody Loves My Baby,” showcasing a loose, inventive and wildly exuberant scatting technique in the mode of James Moody. Drews offers a lovely muted trumpet solo here while Easley adds robust, blues-drenched tenor.

On a smooth rendition of Sammy Cahn’s ballad “Teach Me Tonight,” underscored by Mackrel’s gentle brushwork, Tate plumbs the depths of his baritone while imbuing Gene DePaul’s lyrics with heartfelt poignancy. Easley testifies with sanctified abandon.

An intimate duet rendition of “Lush Life” with pianist Charlap provides a dramatic highpoint of the set. Tate inhabits Strayhorn’s thoughtful lyrics and delivers a moving performance on this eternally beautiful ballad. Charlap’s touch here is particularly sensitive and interactive. “Bill Charlap is just such an incredible player,” says Tate. “Unlike most of the other pianists I’ve ever worked with, his accompaniment is like a solo in itself. It inspires me.”

On the lively “Little Black Samba” (a tune that he had recorded on saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr.’s recording, Come Morning), Tate sings passionately before unleashing more audacious scatting. Everyone gets a taste on this infectious number; Drews offers a bristling high note, open horn solo, followed by successive inventions from Easy (on flute), Charlap, and Mackrel.

Tate’s tender reading of the melancholy “Where Do We Start” showcases the full scope of his expressiveness, while his earthy rendition of Miles Davis’ “All Blues” (in which he cleverly interpolates bits of Memphis Slim’s “Every Day I Have the Blues” and Otis Redding’s “Sitting On The Dock of the Bay”) reveals his more playful side.

A gentle duet with Charlap on the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein tune “It Might As Well Be Spring” intimates the true beauty of Tate’s sonorous voice, and he concludes the set with an ebullient, toe-tapping take on Harold Arlen’s “I’ve Got The World On A String,” which features a show-stopping plunger and an earthy tenor solo. (Note Ealey’s opening quote from Bud Powell’s “A Parisian Thoroughfare.”)

Tate confesses that he plays drums very rarely these days. “I might for special occasions,” he says. “I recently played drums for some performances in Lisbon and Geneva with (opera singer) Jesse Norman. But other than those kind of special occasions, it’s rare that I play drums anymore. Because I played enough.”

With golden pipes like these, who needs to play drums anyway?

- Bill Milkowski

 

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