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Duke Ellington Orchestra,
featuring Harold Ashby
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March 21, 1925 - June 13, 2003
The "Duke Ellington Orchestra" perform live at Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, Canada, May 25, 1973.
Cootie Williams, trumpet
Murray Carney, trombone
Harold Ashby, tenor sax
Doug Harris, clarinet & soprano sax
Paul Gonsalves, tenor sax
Harry Carney, alto & baritone sax
Duke Ellington, piano & leader
Joe Benjamin, bass
Rufus Jones, drums
Harold Ashby's career began in the late 1940s in Kansas City before moving to Chicago where he spent most of the '50s playing in blues and R&B groups.
The tenor saxophonist relocated to New York in 1957 where he met fellow reed man Ben Webster who first introduced him to Ellington.
For the next ten years he would perform with various Ellington sidemen and became a member of the short lived band of Mercer Ellington.
In 1968 Harold Ashby replaced Jimmy Hamilton in Duke Ellington's band becoming the ensemble's last star.
Following Duke Ellington's death in 1974 he remained with the orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington of another year.
He left the band in 1975 and performed with various groups playing jazz tenor saxophone.
With his departure from Ellington Ashby performed with Benny Goodman and Sy Oliver and frequently toured Europe engaging in occasional record dates.
His best remembered later works include 1991's "What Am I Here For?"
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