Tony Tate

Retired Navy Musician

About Me

My name is Tony Tate. I have loved Jazz since high school. I played the baritone saxophone. I went to college to be a music major after high school, but for reasons that still baffles me today, I quit. I ended up working in a restaurant for about 4 years before finally joining the Navy in 1987.

I found out they had a band after I'd already signed up. My recruiter arranged for an audition for me. Apparently, it didn't go very well, as I didn't make the cut. So I was in the Navy as a Ship's Serviceman; working in ship's stores, laundry, storerooms, and operating vending machines.

About a year and a half in, my ship had the 7th Fleet Band on board. One of them heard me practicing between loads in the dry cleaning plant and talked me into auditioning again. Needless to say, I got in on my second audition.

I played alto & tenor sax, and also some flute with the band until I retired in 2007. However, they wore me out. When I got out in I didn't want to play anymore, nor did I have a saxophone of my own, at least not one that actually played, and I didn't care.

The desire to play just recently returned. I just purchased a new tenor sax about 7 months ago and have been practicing since. I'm in the process of getting down to the basics again. I'm also trying to relearn some of the jazz classics.

At some point, I hope to be able to begin playing gigs again. Not sure when I'll be ready, but I am always working toward that goal.

I never expected the desire to play to surface again, but I'm glad it has. Playing is fun again. I can't wait to play with some other folks. That would be the ultimate. I am no longer musically retired.

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2017-03-30

I love jazz because...of the improvisation aspect of it. I was stunned when I found out the music was being created in the moment. I was first exposed to jazz...In high school by my band director, Dennis Eichler I met James Moody...In New Orleans. I was stationed there with his step son, who is a drummer with the Navy, at least he used to be. The best show I ever attended was...The best Jazz performance I've attended was Joshua Redman, at the New Orleans House of Blues. The first jazz record I bought was...A Change of Heart, David Sanborn. My advice to new listeners...If you don't understand what your hearing just give it some time. It actually takes time to learn to hear jazz for what it is.

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