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Buddy Tate: Texas Tenor

Hrayr Attarian By

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Saxophonist George "Buddy" Tate came to prominence in the 1930s with his hard swinging style and robust and resilient tone. His sound mellowed and matured like a fine spirit throughout a long and busy career but his approach did not veer far from his original fashion of playing, dubbed Texas Tenor. The 1978 Sackville record is named just that, one of three Tate discs to bear this title.

The label's rhythm trio joins Tate on an intimate set of nine standards all interpreted elegantly and passionately with and understated sophistication. For instance, Tate embellishes the early jazz classic "Someday Sweetheart" with eloquent and unhurried lilting phrases. Pianist Wray Downes takes an earthy, blues drenched solo that ushers in Tate's own exuberant one.

Downes percolating notes underlie Tate's buttery, thick lines on composer Arthur Schwartz's "Alone Together." Latin hints pepper the quartet's fervent interpretation of the oft-recorded song. Out of this ardent milieu emerges bassist Dave Young's superbly lyrical improvisation. Tate's warm, meandering saxophone concludes the tune.

Young's inventive and lithe turn in the spotlight is one of the highpoints of "Georgia on My Mind." Tate's languid acerbic clarinet is imbued with a nostalgic charm and a tender intensity. Downes' slow simmering piano enhances this intimate retro mood and the subtle melancholic ambience.

Tate and the band deftly coax out the music's many nuances. The effervescent "I'll remember April" , for example, maintains a faint yet exquisitely wistful hue. Downes' channels an inner Harlem stride pianist with his fluid agility on the keys while drummer Pete Magadini, with his restless cadence propels the piece. His thunderous, exciting yet suave beats take center stage ushering in the energetic head that brings the track to a close.

After over four decades since his appearance on the jazz scene Tate remained able to delight and excite with his signature technique and characteristic artistry. This long lost session is ample testament to his skills and a captivating example of his inventive virtuosity.

Track Listing: June Night; Someday Sweetheart; If You Could See Me Now; I'll Remember April; Georgia On My Mind; Alone Together; Bye Bye Blackbird; Isfahan; Lullaby of the Leaves.

Personnel: Buddy Tate: tenor saxophone and clarinet; Wray Downes: piano; Dave Young: bass; Pete Magadini: drums.

Title: Texas Tenor | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Sackville

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