Jerry Tate is the orchestra leader for “Artistry In Jazz”, a group of musicians enjoying the sounds of the big band era, and most of the musicians are carrying on an avocation begun early in life.
I asked Jerry to tell me about his musical interests, and how his band came into being.
“Well, I was interested in the trumpet, really because my sister played a lot of big band music and the trumpet was always the predominant sounding instrument.
“But that’s where I started, the fifth grade. The instructor was the high school band director, and he came around to all the schools, and he had a class five days a week, and in the afternoons, he had the high school band.
“I went in to the high school band when I was in the eighth grade, and I did the marching band and the concert band.”
“Did you keep it up after school?” I asked.
“Yes, in fact in high school I took over the dance band and ran it until I got out. After I got out I formed my own dance band called the ‘Carolinians’, and from there, we worked about four years, and I also played in several combos around the area, and a couple of big bands, the Russ Carlson Orchestra and the Harold Nall Orchestra.
“And then I quit.” (laughter)
I asked, “How long was your hiatus?”
“Forty six years,” he continued.
“I took the horn out, the one I had, and almost cried. I sent it off and had it totally re-manufactured, re-plated and everything. And when I got it back I asked myself what was I going to do with it.
“Linda, my wife, found the article in the newspaper about the New Horizons, so I started back with the New Horizons.
“I started in 2007, and we started it (Artistry In Jazz) in 2010. We did one concert the first year, and last year we did five, and we’re looking forward to doing a bunch in 2012.”
During Jerry’s break from music, he worked as a commercial airline pilot, starting with Piedmont Airlines and US Air.