Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gil Askey - Motown Star Gil Askey Dies



Motown star Gil Askey has died, aged 89.

The musician, who worked with singers including Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5, passed away at his home in Melbourne, Australia on 9 April (14) after a battle with lymphoma.

Askey's son Emile confirmed the news and revealed his father was inundated with calls from his famous friends in the days before his death, saying, "He wore himself out talking to Stevie Wonder, Motown founder Berry Gordy and American Idol musical director Rickey Minor."

The star, who was born in Texas, worked as a trumpeter, composer and producer, and was credited with helping create the iconic sound of the legendary Motown records label. In the 1960s, he wrote and arranged music for the Four Tops, the Jackson 5 and Martha Reeves, and he also worked with Gladys Knight, The Temptations, The Supremes, Gaye and Wonder.

He later became Ross' musical director and received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score for his work on her 1972 Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues.

Throughout his glittering musical career, he also worked with Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minnelli and jazz legend Miles Davis.

He moved to Australia in the 1980s and taught music. Askey briefly returned to the entertainment business in 2010 to work as a musical consultant on Motown's 50th Anniversary tour which featured acts including the Four Tops and the Temptations.


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