Tate's involvement with Prestige was both the with the newer soul jazz sound (Scott-Davis) and the older Swingville sound, both of them connected by rhythm and blues, and both of them connected by the talent scouting and producing abilities of Esmond Edwards.
Edwards, born and raised in Harlem, had first been employed by Bob Weinstock as a photographer. Then Weinstock had him produce a couple of sessions, and by 1958 had put him in the position of recording director, and for the next several years he produced most of Prestige's sessions. Edwards was familiar with the Harlem jazz scene to a degree that Weinstock was not. He knew about places like the Celebrity Club/ He brought Tate and other musicians downtown, and out to Englewood Cliffs, and he found and signed up the younger musicians who were creating the soul jazz sound.
For this session, Tate is joined by Clark Terry, who did not come from uptown in those days. After solid stints with both the Basie and Ellington bands, he had a steady gig as a member of Johnny Tonight Show orchestra. He had appeared on a very early Prestige session, in 1950 with Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray, and then not again until a September 1960 session with Scott and Davis. Terry is also responsible for the lion's share of the compositions on this session, beginning with "Groun' Hog," a slow blues which, at just over eight minutes, allows all the participants to stretch out and do some beautiful work, particularly Tommy Flanagan early on, and Tate later on. It's eight minutes well spent with some master players.
20 Ladbroke Square is credited to Tate and Esmond Edwards as composers, and it's another blues, one that opens up and allows for some inspired blowing. The address is for an apartment building in the Notting Hill section of London, not an area traditionally associate with the blues. Well, maybe there's another Ladbroke Square. The rest of the session belongs to Duke Ellington, in ballad ("All Too Soon") and swinging ("Take the A Train") tempos. The combination of Ellington and these old pros is every bit as good as you would have imagined it to be.
Having dropped back in after a decade's hiatus, Clark Terry would stick around for the next couple of years and make a number of recordings for Prestige, New Jazz, Swingville and Moodsville.
Larry Gales was relatively new on the scene in 1960, and new to Prestige with this album, although he would hook up with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin for several Prestige sessions, then move on to a career that found him playing with many of the greats, particularly Thelonious Monk for several years. He would take quite a while before making his own album as leader, however. His Monk tribute album, A Message from Monk, came out in 1990.
With Edwards producing, this Swingville release was titled Tate-a-Tate, after one of the other Clark Terry contributions. If it was Clark who came up with the pun, Buddy certainly liked it, as later projects were called Tete-a-Tate and Tate-a-Tete.
Listening to Prestige Vol. 2, 1955-56, and Vol. 3, 1957-58 now include, in the Kindle editions, links to all the "Listen to One" selections. All three volumes available from Amazon.
The most interesting book of its kind that I have ever seen. If any of you real jazz lovers want to know about some of the classic records made by some of the legends of jazz, get this book. LOVED IT.
– Terry Gibbs