Gil Askey, American trumpeter, composer, producer – and musical director considered to have been on of the architects of the Motown sound – has died in Melbourne, Australia, aged 88. No further details are yet available.
Melbourne singer and author Jane Clifton posted that “One of the great giants of music has left the building. Farewell Gilbert Askey, you will be so sorely missed. Melbourne was blessed and enriched to have you for the time we did. Time to ‘get you some rest’.” Musician Sally Ford has posted that Askey was ‘an inspiration.’
Askey was born in Austin, Texas on March 9 1925 however he left there at the age of 17. He completed two years of university on a medical scholarship but left his studies to pursue his love of music. In 1980 he married an Australian whom he had first met in 1973 and has since then lived in Melbourne.
Askey performed with many famous musicians, including: Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie. He worked as a musical director for many well-known acts, including: Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, and Gladys Knight.
Specializing on the jazz trumpet, Askey returned to performing in 1993 and was working around the Melbourne music scene, often with saxophonist Paul Williamson.
In a 2004 interview the George Negus on the ABC, Askey claimed that music “took completely over my life from a kid.”
“From a kid,” he continued, “The first time I saw Louis Armstrong, I was about seven, eight years old. This is the way my life has… I played music with the likes of Buck Clayton, with the likes of Jimmy Crawford, Lester Young. (Mimics) “Hey, come on up here and play something.” “Here come, Tex, and that trumpet.” So I haven’t been able to get rid of the trumpet.”