I got to know Ronnie Ross in the mid to late 50s. We occasionally played together
on jazz dates and on sessions (mainly Harry South TV series etc.). Ronnie was
without doubt the best jazz baritone sax player this country has produced. We got
on well as colleagues and often met on social occasions.
I remember a tour of the USA with a band specially formed by Vic Lewis in the
late 50s which included Ronnie, Jimmy Deuchar, Allan Ganley and myself and we
were the first British band to play in the famous 'Birdland' club.
His death was a big shock to us all so early in his life and he is very much
missed by all.
One of our last engagements together was a couple of tours with the great Frank
Sinatra in the accompanying orchestra.
Good luck with the site
V I C A S H
(tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute)
Born to deaf parents in the East End of London, Vic Ash became interested
in the clarinet at a local youth club at the age of 14 and began his
professional career at the age of 20 when he was asked to join the band of
Kenny Baker. Vic joined at the same time as Tubby Hayes.
He then joined Vic Lewis and was thus in the first British band to play
the legendary Birdland in New York. Also in the band was a young musician
who later made a name for himself; Dudley Moore.
John Dankworth invited him to join his band in 1963 and Vic features in
several of the recordings by the band of that time.
Vic also formed his own group, the famous Jazz Five, and toured Iceland,
Germany, Holland and the United States as well as the U.K., playing with
such stars as Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Hoagy Carmichael, Dizzy Gillespie
and Mel Torme.
For eight years in succession he was voted top clarinet player in the UK
by the Melody Maker and won the New Musical Express poll. He was voted
Critics Choice in the mid 50s.
Vic was the first white man to play with Ray Charles in 1963. He was in
an all-star band formed by Ronnie Scott to accompany Ella Fitzgerald in the
In 1982 he played clarinet in the Duke Ellington Sacred Concert at
St Pauls Cathedral, with such musicians as Ronnie Scott, Kenny Baker,
Stan Tracey etc. This was compered by Rod Steiger and featured such guests
as Tony Bennett and Adelaide Hall.
Vic has appeared at the UCS, Barbican, Festival Hall etc. with his quartet
and as guest soloist and is also a featured soloist with the BBC Big Band.
He was very much associated with Frank Sinatra, having accompanied the singer
on all his tours in the UK, Europe and the Middle East from 1970 to 1992.
He has also accompanied such artists as Bing Crosby, Shirley MacLaine,
Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin,, Howard Keel, Jerry Lewis and
In 1995 he released a CD, The Eyes Have It, on which he plays tenor
saxophone and clarinet and is accompanied by David Newton on piano,
Allan Ganley on drums and Malcolm Creese on bass. John Dankworth wrote
the liner notes.
His autobiography (I Blew it my Way) came out in September 2006. It mentions
Ronnie Ross a few times. The publishers are Northway Publications and the
book can be ordered from them or any good book shop.