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Album Review

Other than a scarce album for Masters of Jazz from 1959, this was Harold Ashby's debut as a leader. The underrated tenor saxophonist, one of Duke Ellington's finest soloists during his final decade, is teamed with three other alumni of Ellington's bands (trombonist Booty Wood, bassist Aaron Bell, and drummer Sam Woodyard), plus pianist Raymond Fol. The original program (six Ashby originals) is augmented by a new alternate take of "Scufflin'," plus a previously unreleased "When Sunny Gets Blue." Ashby's warm tenor is equally welcome on both warm ballads and jumping originals, blending in well with Wood's colorful trombone for a high-quality mainstream swing set.


Born: 27 March 1925 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

An excellent Ben Webster-inspired tenor saxophonist, Harold Ashby fit right in during his period with Duke Ellington. He had played in Kansas City (starting in 1946) and, in the early '50s, in Chicago. While most of his previous work was in R&B and blues bands, he was always a fine swing-based improviser. In 1957, Ashby moved to New York, met Ben Webster, and through the elder tenor was introduced to Duke Ellington. During the next decade he was on the periphery of Duke's world, playing with Mercer...
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Scufflin', Harold Ashby
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