For a decade running between the late '30s and the late '40s, Buddy Tate played tenor saxophone in Count Basie's band, perhaps the swing band with the greatest blues leanings, and when he began making records as a leader (at first, while still playing with Basie) in 1947, it was no surprise that many of them had strong elements of blues and jump blues. Tate cut sides for the Supreme label (its catalog later purchased by Swing Time Records and here presented by Night Train International) that included instrumentals like "Tate's A-Jumpin'" and "Blowin' for Snake," and he also backed several singers, including Jimmy Witherspoon. In 1950, he made some recordings backing singer Max "Blues" Bailey. This album of 19 selections includes seven previously released performances and 12 previously unreleased ones, of which 11 are alternate takes. On most of the tracks, the saxophonist is leading an eight-piece band, four horns and four rhythm, though "Swingin' Away With Willie and Ray" and the Bailey session (tracks 15 through 18) make do without a guitarist. There is plenty of room for soloing, especially on the instrumental numbers, and Tate and his compatriots demonstrate considerable versatility as they attempt to find a popular middle ground in the changing styles of jazz in the post-World War II era. Tate was too old to take much interest in bebop, the emerging jazz style, and instead attempted to forge a bridge from the swing music he had grown up with to the jump blues that was exciting many non-jazz fans of the day. Even though most of these performances are alternate takes, they are complete and well done, affording a glimpse into one musician's development at a crucial time in his career and in the history of jazz.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann