Grady Bernard Tate (January 14, 1932 – October 8, 2017) was an American jazz and soul-jazz drummer and baritone vocalist. In addition to his work as sideman, Tate released many albums as leader and lent his voice to songs in the animated Schoolhouse Rock! series. Tate was born in Hayti, Durham, North Carolina. In 1963 he moved to New York City, where he became the drummer in Quincy Jones‘s band.
Grady Tate’s drumming helped to define a particular hard bop, soul jazz and organ trio sound during the mid-1960s and beyond. His slick, layered and intense sound is instantly recognizable for its understated style in which he integrates his trademark subtle nuances with sharp, crisp “on top of the beat” timing (in comparison to playing slightly before, or slightly after the beat). The Grady Tate sound can be heard prominently on many of the classic Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery albums recorded on the Verve label in the 1960s. During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet. In 1981 he played drums and percussion for Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park. As a sideman he has played with musicians including Jimmy Smith, Astrud Gilberto, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Quincy Jones, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, and Michel Legrand.