b. Gilbert Alexander Askey, 9th March 1925, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 9th April 2014, Melbourne, Australia.
Gil Askey is very much an unsung genius in the Soul Music genre.
He was an accomplished musician, composer, producer, and musical director.
Gil Askey was born in Austin, Texas in 1925.
He grew up in East Austin, and attended the L.C. Anderson High School.
At the school he developed a lifelong association with musicians in the school’s Yellow Jackets marching band.
As a child, Gil saw Louis Armstrong when he was 8 years old, which encouraged a young Gil to pick up and learn the trumpet.
When he was 17, he left Texas and relocated to Chicago.
During his time at University, Gil completed a medical scholarship, with a view to becoming a doctor.
During the Sixties, Gil was considered to be one of the producers who were responsible for the Motown Sound.
With Diana Ross, Gil is best known for his work on ‘Lady Sings the Blues’ (in 1972), ‘Diana Ross Live! The Lady Sings... Jazz & Blues: Stolen Moments’ (in 1992) and ‘Mahogany’ (in 1975).
His production credits include arrangements for The Four Tops, Diana Ross, Curtis Mayfield, The Jones Girls, The Impressions, Jermaine Jackson, Linda Clifford, Keni Burke, Mavis Staples, Leroy Hutson, The Temptations, The Dazz Band, Hi Inergy, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Jazmine Sullivan, many of whom he also performed for on their albums.
In 1980 he was married to a woman called Hellen, whom he first met in 1973.
The couple had a child and relocated to Melbourne in Australia.
Gil said ‘ I came to Australia in 1973. As y'all might know the story, I was musical director for Diana Ross. And some ladies... We were caught in the rain, and this voice, ‘Hey, you want a ride?’ We're trying to get back to the Southern Cross Hotel from Festival Hall. And six musicians and five singers went and jumped in this van, and seven years later I married the lady that was driving that van.’
Gil returned to performing in 1993.
He continued to perform right up to his death in Melbourne on the 9th of April 2014, working and educating younger musicians.
Although Gil left Austin in 1942, he returned to the town frequently to visit family and friends, stated his cousin, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes.
Gil’s cousin was the R&B singer Damita Jo.