Gil Askey …

Gil died yesterday at his home in Melbourne …

He was born in Austin, Texas in 1925.

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He was the man behind much of the Motown music I grew up with. The musical director for Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, and Gladys Knight.

And that was where love stepped in. He met a Melbourne girl in 1973. They tried to combine the life of a musician on the road with matrimonial harmony. It didn’t work. The choice was simple. He turned his back on his American musical career and came to Melbourne. Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world there was a time when you could walk into the Edgewater on a Sunday afternoon and listen to Gil Askey play his trumpet just beautifully. Then you could go home and watch him on DVD behind Diana Ross.

He enriched Melbourne’s jazz scene playing with our own local legends like Bob Sedergreen and Paul Williamson and just as importantly by teaching and encouraging a generation of young Melbourne musicians.

Gil was a top shelf musician and a top shelf bloke.