Maestro will be missed by many

Trib­utes to vil­lage’s ac­claimed mu­si­cian

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­

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

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