IN MEMORIAM: Grady Tate of the Schoolhouse Rock! Series // Pat Hicks – Founder of Guitar Institute of Technology

IN MEMORIAM: Grady Tate of the Schoolhouse Rock! Series // Pat Hicks – Founder of Guitar Institute of Technology

Grady Tate in 1972 [photo from Wikipedia bio]

Grady Bernard Tate (January 14, 1932 – October 8, 2017) was an American hard bop and soul-jazz drummer and singer with a distinctive baritone voice. In addition to his work as sideman, Tate released many albums as leader and vocalist, and lent his voice to a number of songs in the animated Schoolhouse Rock! series.

Tate was born in Hayti, Durham, North Carolina. In 1963 he moved to New York City, where he became the drummer in Quincy Jones’s band.

Grady Tate’s drumming helped to define a particular hard bop, soul jazz and organ trio sound during the mid-1960s and beyond. His slick, layered and intense sound is instantly recognizable for its understated style in which he integrates his trademark subtle nuances with sharp, crisp “on top of the beat” timing (in comparison to playing slightly before, or slightly after the beat). The Grady Tate sound can be heard prominently on many of the classic Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery albums recorded on the Verve label in the 1960s.

Tate was the drummer on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for six years. During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet. In 1981 he played drums and percussion for Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park.

As a sideman he has played with musicians including Jimmy Smith, Astrud Gilberto, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Quincy Jones, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, and Michel Legrand.

Among his most widely heard vocal performances are the songs “I Got Six”, “Naughty Number Nine”, and “Fireworks” from Multiplication Rock and America Rock, both part of the Schoolhouse Rock series. For the 1973 motion picture Cops And Robbers, Tate sang the title song, written by Michel Legrand and Jacques Wilson. On Mark Murphy’s album Living Room, Tate shares the vocal on a medley of Misty and Midnight Sun.

He joined the faculty of Howard University in 1989.

Grady Tate died of complications of Alzheimer’s on October 8, 2017 at the age of 85. He was survived by his wife Vivian and son Grady, Jr.

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Pat Hicks – Founder of Guitar Institute of Technology

Pat Hicks was the founder of the Guitar Institute of Technology. A very kind and gentle soul. He referred to us as “his kids”. I feel blessed to be one of his musical children.

So sad to hear he has left us. Thanks for everything, Pat – you cast a long shadow. You will be greatly missed.

~ Michael Hossler & Jason Docktor on Facebook

Musicians Institute (MI) is a for-profit college of contemporary music that offers a variety of educational programs in Hollywood, California. MI students can earn Certificates and — with transfer of coursework taken at Los Angeles City College — Associate of Arts Degrees, as well as Bachelor of Music Degrees in either Performance or Composition. The School of Performance Studies includes Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboard Technology and Vocals; while the School of Entertainment Industry Studies features Audio Engineering, Guitar Craft, Independent Artist and Music Business. Founded in 1977, MI is focused on building creative skills and providing all the tools students need to develop careers as musicians and music industry professionals.

Founders Howard Roberts and Pat Hicks
Musicians Institute was founded as The Guitar Institute of Technology in 1977 as a one-year vocational school of guitarists and bassists. Its curriculum and pedagogical style was shaped by guitarist Howard Roberts (1929–1992). Pat Hicks (né Patrick Carroll Hicks; (1934-2017), a Los Angeles music industry entrepreneur, was the co-founder of Musicians Institute. He is credited for providing the organizational structure and management that rapidly transformed Howard Roberts’ educational philosophy into a major music school.

Programs added under Roberts and Hicks
1978: Bass Institute of Technology (BIT)
1980: Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT)
1987: Vocal Institute of Technology (VIT)
1991: Keyboard Institute of Technology (KIT)
1993: Recording Institute of Technology (RIT)
1994: Bachelor of Music Degree

Early curricular offerings

At the time of its founding, formal education in rock and roll at institutions of higher learning was limited mostly to universities and conservatories offering jazz studies, which were few. At the founding of the Musicians Institute, Jazz studies was, and is today, a strong component of the curricular offerings. In early days of the Musicians Institute, the demand for musicians and music industry professionals with comprehensive collegiate credentials in the field of contemporary music was low. Yet, the demand for contemporary music professionals was high. Roberts, when he founded the school, wanted to give aspiring rock and roll musicians a conservatory experience. Nowadays, comprehensive music education in higher education, from bachelors to doctorates, covers rock and roll from several perspectives, including literature, musicology, history, performing arts, technology, business, and law. For musicians working towards degrees in performance, proficiency in rock and roll is standard, particularly for aspiring session musicians.

The rise of contemporary musicians holding comprehensive academic credentials over the last 50 years is partly the result of more universities offering programs in the field, which, in turn, has increased the demand for contemporary oriented music educators with academic credentials at universities. Because the Musicians Institute was an innovator in rock and roll in higher education — and twenty-three years ago began offering bachelor of music degrees — its alumni are well-represented as educators of contemporary music at institutions of higher learning.

Current owner Hisatake Shibuya

Japanese businessman Hisatake Shibuya (born 1937) bought the school in 1994 and Musicians Institute began developing new programs to keep abreast of the modern music industry.

Programs added under Shibuya
2000: Recording Artist Program (RAP)
2000: Audio Engineering
2000: Guitar Craft Academy (GCA)
2002: Music Business Program (MBP)
2005: Film Program

Musicians Institute is currently developing DJ technology courses to train students in modern electronic music-making.

Categories: In Memoriam

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