Vic Ash

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Vic Ash
Birth nameVictor Ash
Born(1930-03-09)9 March 1930
East London
Died24 October 2014(2014-10-24) (aged 84)
Years active1951-2014

Victor "Vic" Ash (9 March 1930, in East London – 24 October 2014) was an English jazz saxophonist and clarinetist.[1] He was of Jewish ancestry.[2]


Ash began playing professionally in 1951 when, with Tubby Hayes, he joined the band of Kenny Baker, with whom he played until 1953.[3] Following this association, Ash played with Vic Lewis (1953–56), then accompanied Hoagy Carmichael and Cab Calloway on their English tours.

He led his own group and was a favourite in the Melody Maker fan polls of the 1950s; concurrently he had a radio program called Sunday Break, which discussed jazz and religion. In 1954, the Vic Ash Quartet recorded with US singer Maxine Sullivan in London. Ash toured the U.S. in 1957 and returned to play with Lewis in 1959. His ensemble was the only one representing British jazz at the Newport Jazz Festival that year.

Ash remained a mainstay of the British jazz scene for decades, playing in small and large ensembles including the BBC Big Band. He accompanied Frank Sinatra on tours in Europe and the Middle East (such as Aryamehr concert) from 1970 until Sinatra's death.

Ash released many albums for Pye, Nixa and MGM, mostly in the mainstream jazz tradition. Vic Ash's co-authored autobiography I Blew It My Way (Northway Publications) appeared in 2006

Personal life and death[edit]

Ash died on 24 October 2014. He is survived by his wife, Helen, who he married in 1982.[4]


  1. ^ Vic Ash Biography
  2. ^ William D. Rubinstein, Michael Jolles, Hilary L. Rubinstein, The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, Palgrave Macmillan (2011), p. 39
  3. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. pp. 21–22. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
  4. ^ Vic Ash Biography Retrieved 21 June 2020