Bill Ash

Composer/arranger: Saskia, Near Nancy

Bill Ash first picked up a trumpet in fourth grade, and has hardly put it down since—except to play another instrument or write some music. In high school he began playing professionally, and at 16 was leading his own 15-piece big band. While studying architecture at Princeton, Bill continued freelancing, again led his own big band, and began composing, arranging, and doubling on trombone and French horn. After graduation, he worked as an architect, then in computers, all the while maintaining a busy musical schedule. He has performed throughout the New York metro area and beyond with groups of every size and description, including the Temptations, the Happenings, Marlene VerPlanck, and Bobby Rydell.

In 2003, Bill was selected as one of New Jersey’s top jazz musicians by the Newark Star Ledger for its Great Day in Jersey feature.

Bill has recorded with the Jazz Composer’s Workshop Orchestra (which recorded his composition Stealing Fire), Kennsington Brass (which recorded several of Bill’s arrangements), Michael Treni, Linda Torchia, the Acme Brass Co., the James L. Dean Big Band, Dick Wells with the Big Band Swing Machine, the Bensen-Scott Big Band, the Infernos, Doug Ferony, Bibi Farber, and the Planet Jazz Big Band, among others. His arrangements and compositions are regularly performed by a number of bands.

Bill has performed at numerous New York area venues including Lincoln Center, NJPAC, Giants Stadium, Izod Arena, the Iridium, Fat Tuesday’s, and Trumpets. He has also performed in Las Vegas and up and down the East coast.

In addition to his extensive work as a sideman, Bill’s career has often seen him leading bands. He began leading 15-piece big bands as a student: Sentimental Journey in high school, then the Princeton Swing Band, which he led in college and continued to run for a decade after graduation. In more recent years Bill has led slightly smaller groups: Touch of Brass and, currently, the 7-piece brass-plus-rhythm Brass Pack.

Besides performing on brass instruments ranging from piccolo trumpet to tuba, Bill teaches privately. He was on the faculty at the Wharton Music Center in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey for five years, and also has taught at the Link School in Newark, New Jersey. He also has written about music for Gannett Newspapers, for whom he interviewed such trumpet greats as Doc Severinsen, Maynard Ferguson, Wynton Marsalis and Arturo Sandoval.

Bill is also a web designer, computer consultant, and graphic designer. He lives in Allendale, New Jersey, with his wife Lorraine, a journalist and author whose books include Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing (NewSage Press, 2004) and Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life (Cape House Books, 2012). Together, Lorraine and Bill run Cape House Publishing.