Greg Tate, Author and Master of Criticism, Dead At 64

Photo: Sean Mathis/Getty Images for SXSW

Update, Monday, December 13 at 11:40 a.m.: The family of Greg Tate has made a statement on the critic’s death. The statement confirmed that Tate, who was 64, died by cardiac arrest. “Greg was an amazing son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, nephew, cousin — a family man in the deepest African sense,” it reads. “He was also a gentle giant of Black radical thought and creativity, an invaluable friend, and a generous mentor to many. We intend to honor him in a manner worthy of his legacy.” The family also thanked Tate’s readers for their support and remembrances, adding, “They have sustained us at a time of unimaginable grief.”

Original story follows.

Greg Tate, the preeminent music writer and critic, has died at the age of 64, according to jazz critic Nate Chinen on social media. “Absolutely gutted to learn (from a trusted source) that Greg Tate has left this dimension,” Chinen tweeted Tuesday, December 7. “What a hero he’s been — a fiercely original critical voice, a deep musician, an encouraging big brother to so many of us.” (Representatives for Tate did not immediately respond to Vulture.) Tate made a name for himself as a staff writer for The Village Voice in the 1980s; his work is now considered among the great collections of criticism, notably his 1992 anthology, Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America, and its 2016 sequel Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader. In 1985, Tate co-founded the Black Rock Coalition, an artists’ collective promoting creative freedom and Black musicians, along with Vernon Reid and other firebrands of the era. Tate created Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, a psychedelic fusion improvisational ensemble, in 1999. He went on to receive the United States Artists fellowship in 2010 and afterward continued writing about jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, and rock, including in contributions to Vulture. Many colleagues and contemporaries have paid their respect to the late writer on Twitter. Read tributes to Greg Tate from Chinen, Touré, Hanif Abdurraqib, and more below.

An earlier version of this post misstated Tate’s age as 63. It has since been corrected.

Greg Tate, Author and Master of Criticism, Dead At 64