Soul Fantasy

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grady Tate and Gwynne Michaels - Love Winds


Grady Tate

Starting my article, it is worthy to mention that the legendary Grady Tate is one of my favorite singers, although he became known as a drummer of jazz music.

It was a night of October 2008. I was in Kavala in Greece. I tried to buy a 12" record by Grady Tate & Gwynne Michaels on ebay. I lost it in the last second. It was sold for $ 100.99. I was very disappointed. I remember this night like now. However I believed that I would find it some day.

Gwynne Michaels

I started to search in web concerning this record. I found only a mention on Jet Magazine of June 1984. Later I was looking concerning Gwynne Michaels. I found some information about some live performances she did in New York during the 90s and later. In one of those performances, Gwynne Michaels appeared in June 1990 at New York Women's Jazz Festival along with the bassist Carline Ray, the pianist Bertha Hope, the trumpeter Jean Davis and the saxophonist Carol Sudhalter.
Some day, I called my friend Nicolas Drosos so as to speak with him for that masterpiece. I gave him the sample of the song "Love Winds". He agreed with me. Nicolas and I tried to come in contact with the best collectors in Europe. We spoke with Richard Searling, John Ridley and many other collectors or DJ producers but eyes had never seen this record.
Of course, I was dissapointed. As I remember since that night, I never stopped searching on ebay for this record. Every time, every morning, every afternoon and every night I was searching for it.
In the early 2009 (3rd January), I tried to come in contact with the late Barrie Lee Hall Jr. He was a trumpeter, music director and band leader of the Duke Ellington Small Band.

Barrie Lee Hall Jr.

He played solo trumpet on the song "Love Winds". I spoke with him through email two times. He was trying to remember this recording. However what he said to me was really important. Barrie Lee Hall Jr. told me that the last time he had seen Rudy Stevenson was ten (10) years ago in Berlin, Germany.
Rudy Stevenson was a guitarist, composer and producer from New York. He worked with the famous singer Nina Simone, The Fifth Dimension, The Lloyd Price Band, Cedar Walton, Dexter Gordon, Chuck Cissel and with many others playing guitar and flute or composing music. He was a member of the legendary Duke Ellington Orchestra. In 1988 he relocated to Berlin. Rudy Stevenson was composer, arranger and executive producer on both Grady Tate's songs which were recorded in New York at A&R Recording Studio.

Rudy Stevenson

I started to search for him in Germany. First in web. Later I found a female friend from Germany named Jean. Jean tried to call Rudy Stevenson in phone. She spoke with him. Although there have been many years, Rudy Stevenson still remembered this record. However he could not remember where the vinyl was. In fact, I waited one day for Jean to send me a message saying that Rudy gave her the vinyl of Grady Tate & Gwynne Michaels. For one more time I was disappointed. Jean had some personal troubles and later disappeared. I was thinking maybe Jean got the vinyl from Rudy Stevenson and that this was the real reason she disappeared. I don't know anything about that and I am not sure. Later I sadly learned some bad news as Rudy Stevenson passed away on 12th December, 2010 in Berlin.

Nicolas Drosos, Freddy Cole and I

On January 25th, 2011, I went at the Half Note jazz club. I decided to go so as to meet the legendary Freddy Cole. In fact I believed that Freddy Cole will help me to come in contact with Grady Tate, because I discovered some photos of him along with Grady Tate. So I went in Half Note. It was a beautiful night. I had the opportunity to speak along my friend Nicolas Drosos with him. He said to me some things concerning Grady Tate. However I did not manage to find him. It was very difficult.
Three months later, I received a message from the Pittsburgh Jazz Network. I am a member of this website. I received a message that Grady Tate will be doing a live appearance at the August Wilson Center, along with New York pianist Sumi Tonooka, saxophonist Kenny Blake, drummer Roger Humph­ries and other distinguished local and national artists. I tried to go there, but it was very difficult, because I needed more time. For one more time I was disappointed.
Then I continued to search every day for the record. As I remember I discovered that Gwynne Michaels collaborated with the songwriter and pianist Andy Rajeckas from New Jersey. In 2008 she sang a song entitled "Heal The World With Me" which was included on the Rajeckas debut album CD named "Peacework".

It is worthy to note that Andy and Gwynne performed the song "Heal The World With Mein Hardwick, N.J. on Saturday, Nov 15, 2008 in front of 350 people.

It was the moment that I got the opportunity to come in contact with Andy Rajeckas. I wrote him a message on August 3rd, 2011. For some days I waited to receive a message from him. However the days passed and I did not receive any message. About three months later in the late October of 2011, I got a message from Gwynne Michaels. As it seems Andy Rajeckas informed Gwynne Michaels concerning my message. It was a great time for me, for two reasons. The first that I had the pleasure to speak with the singer who sang one of my favorite songs and the second the fact that I was very close to take the vinyl in my hands. Although it was a great moment for me, I was disappointed because Gwynne Michaels could not give me the vinyl because she had only one copy for herself.
However, I continued to search, and on March of 2012, I discovered a female singer of jazz music named L'Tanya Mari . She studied with Grady Tate at the start of her career. For this reason I tried to come in contact with her. I spoke with her only one time and she told me some things mentioning the name of Ron Walker. I understood that Ron Walker was the manager of Grady Tate. Immediately I started to search about him. Then I came in contact with the percusionist Wilson "Chembo" Corniel. "Chembo" received a Grammy Nomination by Naras in 2009 for “Best Latin Jazz Album” for his 2009 CD release entitled "Things I Wanted To Do". He collaborated with Grady Tate and for this reason I asked him concerning Grady Tate and his manager Ron Walker. However I got a negative answer because Walker had passed away. "Chembo" had contact with Grady Tate only through Ron Walker. For this reason I could not find Grady Tate for one more time.
The years passed and sometimes I was still thinking that I will never find the vinyl of Grady Tate. In 2013 I noticed on ebay a rare 7" record by Corinda Carford. She is a singer of rock and jazz music from New Jersey. She has collaborated with the great Bruce Springsteen as a backing singer. In 1979 she released a 45" single which today is an ultra rare and hard to find. I tried to speak with her because at that time she collaborated with Rudy Stevenson and I wanted to find more information concerning the man who wrote and produced the songs of Grady Tate's and Gwynne Michaels's vinyl.
Finally, the great moment came for me so as to find this vinyl for which I have been looking for 6 years. I received a message from ebay that the record entered for sell on ebay. I had put automatic search system. I said immediately that this vinyl was mine. So on 16th June I bought it for $ 380. I can't describe my feelings. What can I say more ?

The 12" record was probably released in 1984 on Zeus Records in New York. Both songs were recorded at A&R Recording Studio, New York. Both songs were penned by Rudy Stevenson. Of cource the song "Love Winds" is a masterpiece soul/jazz song and in my opinion one of the best ever. Barrie Lee Hall Jr. plays fantastic solo trumpet.

(Mix Samples)

The other song "It's Time To Settle Down" is a nice ballad.


In order to talk about Grady Tate, I would need many hours to write several pages. So I decided to write some things about Gwynne Michaels. Her professional name is Gwynne Michaels and she is from New Jersey. She also uses the name Hearns because she has been married. She started her professional career in the 70s. She sang as backing vocalist on the Loudon Wainwright "T'Shirt" album in 1976.
She did many live performances such as in the late 80s for Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble. A year later she appeared at New York Women's Jazz Festival. In the mid 90s she and her quintet appeared at the Jazz Cafe at Flushing Town Hall, Northern Boulevard. It is thought an excellent place for music concerts in the great hall. It is a beautiful building that's Victorian-era on the outside. In 1997 she did a live performance along with the saxophonist Harold Ousley in New York.

In 2000 UGHA she hosted the "Heroines of Rhythm and Blues" at Symphony Space (NYC). The show featured The Original Chantels, Barbara English and the Clickettes, Ruth McFadden, Della Griffin and her Enchanters, Cindy Taylor and The Cliftonaires, along with the Decibelles. She joined the stage as backing singer of Della Griffin. She was simply superb!
She toured all over the world such as in Japan, Thailand, Phillippines, Italy, Spain, France and Chile.
During the last months I came in contact again with her. It is my honor speaking with her, because she sang one of my all-time favorite songs. She told me some things about Rudy Stevenson. From what I understood, Rudy Stevenson was a great man and musician. Finally I dedicate my article only to those who know how to appreciate good music.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full

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