|Genres:||Jazz Pop / Rock|
|Tags:||jazz harp soul jazz harp|
|Decades:||1950s 1960s 1980s 1990s 2000s|
6 August 1932, Detroit, Michigan, USA, d. 13 April 1986, Santa Monica, California, USA. Born into a musical family (her father played jazz guitar) Ashby studied music at high school, where a fellow student was Donald Byrd. After graduation, she played piano and harp with several small groups, often as leader. She recorded with Richard Davis, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess and others in the late 50s and early 60s. During the latter period, she also had her own radio show in her home town. Her husband, drummer John Ashby, played in her early trios and was founder of a theatre company, the Ashby Players of Detroit, for which his wife wrote scores. After relocating to the west coast she played in studio orchestras, sometimes appearing on albums featuring leading jazz musicians. One of very few harpists to play jazz convincingly, Ashby was perhaps the only such instrumentalist successfully to adapt the instrument to accommodate the language of bop.