Grady Tate is an expert jazz session drummer. He is said to be skilled in using a rim shot for syncopation. He also has a warm baritone voice. He began singing for his church in Durham at four years old and took a break when he voice changed during puberty. He taught himself how to drum at age five. He picked up drumming experience during his time in the US Air Force. He graduated from North Carolina Central University with a degree in English Literature & Drama and a minor in Psychology.
He played drums for the Quincy Jones big band and began recording as a session drummer. He has played for Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. He has also been described as "the best singer to emerge from the ranks of instrumentalists since Nat Cole." In the late 1970's he became involved with the Schoolhouse Rock series. He lent vocals to "I Got Six", which contained the following line: "I got six in my right hand, six in my left hand, six on my head. You got six in your pocket. Put 'em all on the floor, that's 24."
Grady Tate has been nominated for two Grammy's as "Best Male Pop Vocalist" in 1973 and 1989. Grady Tate also performed for six years as the band drummer for the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He currently is on the faculty of Howard University.