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Johnny Pate

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Information about Johnny Pate

Profile image of Johnny Pate

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Bassist
Music Arranger

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Green
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
It Is Never Enough.

Birthplace

Born:
12/5/1923
Birth Location:
Chicago Heights, Illinois

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Bassist
Music Arranger

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Green
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
It Is Never Enough.

Birthplace

Born:
12/5/1923
Birth Location:
Chicago Heights
See how Johnny Pate is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Jazz bassist, rhythm and blues arranger John W. Pate, Sr., “Johnny Pate,” was born December 5, 1923 in blue collar Chicago Heights, Illinois. Pate took an interest in the family’s upright piano and learned from the church organist who boarded with them. He attended Lincoln Elementary School, Washington Junior High and graduated from Bloom Township High School in 1942. Drafted into the United States Army, Pate joined the 218th AGF Army Band where he took up the tuba and played the upright bass in the jazz orchestra. In 1946, after his tour of service, Pate moved to New York City where bassist Oscar Pettiford helped him get started.

Pate played with the Red Allen - J.C. Higginbotham Combo and jazz violinists Stuff Smith and Eddie South. Returning to Chicago, he arranged musical numbers at the Regal Theatre with Red Saunders. Pate studied at the Midwest Conservatory of Music from1950 to 1953 and continued to perform in the 50s with Dorothy Donegan, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams, Count Basie and Ahmad Jamal. Forming the Johnny Pate Trio and Combo in 1957, he was also “house bassist” for Chicago’s Blue Note. Johnny Pate’s bass solo on “Satin Doll” is featured on the album Duke Ellington Live At The Blue Note (1959). Pate continued to perform, and appeared on albums featuring James Moody, Phil Woods, Shirley Horn, Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Smith and Monty Alexander as producer and arranger.

Contacted by Carl Davis of Chicago’s Okeh Records, Pate arranged a Curtis Mayfield song, “Monkey Time,” which was a big hit for Major Lance in 1963. Pate’s collaboration with Curtis Mayfield produced most of the well-known Impressions tracks including “Amen,” “We’re A Winner” and “Keep On Pushin.” He produced B.B. King: Live at the Regal and also arranged for Betty Everett, Gene Chandler and Jerry Butler. In the1970s Pate orchestrated and arranged Shaft In Africa, Brother on the Run, Bucktown, Bustin Loose and others. He continued to arrange in the 1980s for Peabo Bryson and Natalie Cole. Retiring to Las Vegas in the 1990s, Pate was honored in 2003 as the “Unsung Hero of Popular Music”. Pate’s son is well known bassist, Don Pate and his cousin is saxophonist, Johnny Griffin.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Johnny Pate's Interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Johnny Pate lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Johnny Pate describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Johnny Pate describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Johnny Pate describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Johnny Pate describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Chicago Heights, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Johnny Pate describes his childhood household
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Johnny Pate recalls the churches his family attended during his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Johnny Pate describes his mother's personality and interests
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Johnny Pate remembers childhood trips to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Johnny Pate talks about his maternal relatives
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Johnny Pate describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Johnny Pate describes his experiences at Lincoln Elementary School in Chicago Heights, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Johnny Pate remembers his early love of basketball
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Johnny Pate describes his favorite childhood bands
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Johnny Pate talks about playing basketball at Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Johnny Pate talks about his musical education and his graduation from Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Johnny Pate talks about playing music in the United States Army during World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Johnny Pate describes learning to play the tuba for the United States Army during World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Johnny Pate talks about playing in a band for the United States Army while stationed in Europe
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Johnny Pate talks about starting his musical career after World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Johnny Pate describes touring with Stuff Smith and Eddie South
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Johnny Pate explains how he became musical director for Club DeLisa in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Johnny Pate talks about working with Sammy Dyer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Johnny Pate remembers highlights of his career from the late 1950s to early 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Johnny Pate recalls writing arrangements for Curtis Mayfield
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Johnny Pate remembers some of his hit songs from the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Johnny Pate talks about his reception in Europe and the lack of regard for musicians in the United States
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Johnny Pate describes working on 'B.B. King Live at the Regal'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Johnny Pate talks about working on the soundtrack for 'Super Fly'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Johnny Pate talks about his television and movie scores
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Johnny Pate talks about producing for Peabo Bryson in the 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Johnny Pate talks about arranging music and his favorite musicians
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Johnny Pate describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Johnny Pates shares his opinion of hip-hop music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Johnny Pate reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Johnny Pate reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Johnny Pate remembers celebrating his success with his mother
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Johnny Pate talks about working as a producer for Verve Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Johnny Pate talks about his work with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada and the UNLV Jazz Ensemble
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Johnny Pate talks about his radio show on KUNV
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Johnny Pate describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Johnny Pate narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Johnny Pate narrates his photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Johnny Pate narrates his photographs, pt. 3