Inducted in 1998
Robert "Bob" Tate, Jr.
July 2, 1932 -- August 3, 1993
Bob Tate Jr. was a legendary musician who played a vital role in the
development of jazz and rhythm-and-blues, in both Arizona and on the West
Coast, for roughly 40 years.
Although born in Oklahoma, he moved with his
family to Arizona as a young child and was raised in Phoenix, where he
attended Carver High School and Arizona State University; during the course
of his career, he learned to play tenor, alto and soprano saxophone, flute,
keyboards, and to read and compose music, although he performed and recorded
primarily as a saxophonist and arranger.
In the late 50's he moved to Los
Angeles, and for the next 15 years or so he played and recorded with some of
the most important figures in R&B: Sam Cooke (for whom Bob worked as
on-the-road bandleader), Little Johnny Taylor, Don & Dewey, Louis Jordan,
T-Bone Walker, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Lou Rawls, Saunders King, and Guitar
Shorty (see Living Blues issue #95, Jan/Feb '9l, for an article on Shorty in
which he describes Bob's role in his classic sessions of the late 50's and
The records that Bob appeared on have become
highly-sought-after collectors' items, and a number of them have been
reissued on CD and LP; one of his compositions from this period has been
covered in recent years by Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets featuring Sam
Myers ("The Ways of a Man", originally recorded by Guitar Shorty in 1959).
After returning to Phoenix in the late 70's, Bob continued to be an active
member of the jazz and blues scene in Arizona, working with Prince Shell,
Gary Hughes, Chico Chism and Big Pete Pearson, among many others. Right up
until his death he continued to serve as a mentor to younger blues
musicians, who benefited greatly from his advice. He will always be missed
by those who knew him.
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