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Buddy's Groove

22 JUL 09 CHRIS SLAWECKI

Part of Concord's Digital Only series, Groovin' With Tate spotlights the talents of Buddy Tate, a saxophonist who filled two of music's most cherished tenor chairs -- in the Count Basie Band (in 1934, then again from 1939-'49) and in the dance band at Harlem's Celebrity Club (1953-'74) -- yet somehow remained relatively unknown, even to jazz fans.

For six decades, Tate performed and recorded with the likes of Basie, Lionel Hampton and Lester Young. But he almost never recorded sessions as a leader, under his own name. Groovin' presents two such rarities, from sessions spanning 1959-'61, combining music Tate recorded with this multifaceted, powerhouse Harlem Celebrity Club ensemble with a more intimate recording arranged to feature Tate's saxophone and clarinet.

You'll find Tate Groovin' under jazz, but his mood is sheer blue. His sax moans the blues through the straight-ahead strolls "No Kiddin'" and "Miss Ruby Jones," while "Blow Low" and the hard-driving "Moon Dog" are basic Basie jams that burst open with melodic dialogues between band sections and satiny solos from every voice in this septet except for drums. In the smaller session, Tate's saxophone sings out a curative summertime blues on the "Boardwalk" and, to end this set, tandem scampers with the electric guitar through the up-tempo blues hook in "Overdrive."

Tate's tenor also blows through the sax summit Very Saxy and Buck And Buddy Blow The Blues with Basie trumpeter Buck Clayton, two more good ways to spend some time Groovin' With Tate.



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