Maestro will be missed by many
Tributes to village’s acclaimed musician
WARM tributes have been paid to a man hailed as one of Britain’s finest jazz musicians, who died last week.
Vic Ash, who was 84 and of Chalfont St Giles, passed away on Thursday.
He was known for his work in the world of jazz and big band music and played the clarinet, tenor saxophone and flute.
During his career, he played with some of the biggest names in music, including Frank Sinatra, with whom he toured the UK, Europe and the Middle East from 1970 until 1992.
Other artists with whom he worked included Bing Crosby, Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, Howard Keel and more.
Mr Ash lived in White Hart Close, Chalfont St Giles with his wife Helen.
He would also regularly appear at the Merlin’s Cave pub in the village, and it was there that he was heard by Chesham saxophonist Simon Spillett, who is now regarded as one of the UK’s best tenor sax players.
Mr Spillett said: “We first met in 1993 when I was struggling to teach myself tenor saxophone.”
Mr Ash ended up teaching Mr Spillett to play and gave him regular lessons.
Mr Spillett added: “It is no to say that
at Merlin’s course of my exaggeration hearing Vic changed the life.
“Vic was an unbeatable role model and, above all, a dear friend.”
Mr Ash was born in London’s East End and began playing the clarinet at the age of 14.
He began his professional career when he was 20 and was asked to join Kenny Baker’s band, and later joined the Vic Lewis Orchestra and John Dankworth Orchestra.
He was voted eight times as the best clarinet player in polls run by the New Musical Express and Melody Maker magazines.
In recent years, he has been the featured saxophone soloist in the BBC Big Band and has released music with his own quartet.
His autobiography, I Blew It My Way, was published in 2006, with a foreword by Michael Parkinson.
Mr Ash’s funeral will be at Amersham Crematorium, at 12.15pm on Friday, November 7.
It is no exaggeration
to say that hearing Vic at Merlin’s changed the course of
my life. Vic was an unbeatable role model and above all, a dear
ROLE MODEL: Vic Ash and his wife, Helen