Harold Ashby

Jazz saxophonist

Jazz saxophonist Harold Ashby, who played with Duke Ellington’s orchestra, died Friday June 13. He was 78.

Ashby was known as the band’s featured tenor saxophonist well into the 1970s, and worked with several other musicians including Count Basie and Jimmy Witherspoon.

Ashby began his musical career in his native Kansas City in 1940. He later moved to Chicago and became popular in the local blues scene during the 1950s.

He first worked with Ellington in 1960, becoming a full-time member in 1968.

After leaving Ellington’s band in 1975, Ashby continued as a freelancer, performing in New York and Europe with a quartet of his own. From 1988 to 1999 he also recorded several swing albums.

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