John Pashley RIP 20th Sept 2019

Photo courtesy of Louth Jazz Club


20/09/19 - Sad news, I'm afraid. John Pashley’s daughter-in-law Helen rang, to say that John had passed away today (Friday) around mid-day. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer some months ago and has bravely coped with the problems since, some in hospital and also being cared for by Maureen and family.

A proud Yorkshireman, he was a popular musician, mainly on trumpet (and vocals), but also played many other instruments. I last saw him in December 2018, when he ‘depped’ with the Savoy Jazzmen at The Palm House, Sefton Park, Liverpool in the afternoon and then at Widnes RUFC in the evening.

John had a ‘catholic’ music taste, but his first love was the jazz of New Orleans, and he played in many parade bands.

He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with Maureen, Helen and family. R.I.P. John.

Terry Birkinhead.

21/09/19 -

Sad to hear that Fred,

Laurie Cooper

21/09/19 -

Sad news Fred, he'll be missed.

Pete Lay

21/09/19 -

How sad. Although I knew John had been very poorly for many months and heard early September he only had weeks to live it still came as a shock to hear he had actually passed away. John played with the Savoy Jazzmen once a month for many years some 10-15 years ago and it was always such a pleasure to have him with us. Although his first love was New Orleans music he seemed to know what an audience wanted and would suggest tunes not normally played by a N.O. band. Whatever tune we selected he just knew it, he just wanted the key and off we would go. He always gave a good positive lead and was a natural band leader.

My condolences to Maureen & Helen.

Peter Swensson. (Savoy Jazzmen)

21/09/19 -

My condolences to Helen and family . 

Fond memories of John Pashley playing in the parade bands at Hayfield Jazz festival in the 1980’s

Sheila Collier

21/09/19 -

I’m very sorry to hear that John Pashley has passed away. As a fellow trumpeter, of course, we rarely met on gigs, although I’ve played on a number of parade jobs with John, going back quite a number of years, and more recently he depped for me with the Tuxedo band, on a number of occasions. A fine player, with a great personality and sense of humour. I have some of his (unquotable!) quips in my head right now! It was a pleasure to know him, and the jazz world will miss him greatly. R.I.P. John.-

Richard Knock

21/09/19 -

That is very sad to hear. 'Pash' was an absolute stalwart of New Orleans Jazz. His dedication was unmatched and I -We-admired him for his stubborn pursuit of that 'sound' he wished to recreate. Go in peace Pash. If Gabriel has a marching band, you'll be doing the arrangements no doubt. 

Ian  Royle

21/09/19 - So sorry to hear about Pash, he was a great asset to the Eclipse band, moving seamlessly from sax to lead trumpet when I was desperate. Not only a fine musician but a pedant, always using correct English. I will miss the erudite discussions we had on the way to gigs where John was always proved right!

Jeff Roberts

22/09/19 -

I was really saddened to hear about John Pashley. I was in touch with John a few weeks ago and he'd obviously been through a pretty awful time.

The last time I saw him he was very much more keen to play his sax and spent some time elucidating to me the intricacies and technicalities of the thing compared with the trumpet. John had a wonderful ability to use a dozen words where I would have been happy to use two. He had a delightful way of explaining things and had an opinion on everything which, as Jeff Roberts says, was always the right one.

I would normally send you a recording from one of the gigs I did with John but I decided to compile a few extracts from his wonderful flowery introductions - knowledgeable, amusing and highly entertaining. It's lovely stuff. Enjoy.

I played a lot with John in parade bands and in his bands on a number of occasions in the late 1980's. It was always a pleasure, particularly as I got to meet and play with some great musicians from over the border.

I remember three occasions in particular. The first was a dreadful late December journey in thick snow to Oswaldwistle and then having to play Rudolph, Jingle Bells, White Christmas etc. just to rub it in. The second was a gig in Burnley where a young college kid called Mike Owen came along with his trombone.

The third was what we thought was going to be a long residency at The Riverside in Summerseat. The sessions drew a good crowd when we played in the bar but for some reason, and without prior warning, they moved us upstairs to a huge and freezing dance hall which echoed like anything. For the first session upstairs they had set out around 50 seats but there were just three occupants all night. However, as you can hear from one of the extracts, John, with a few cryptic comments but ever the professional, treated the gig as if the room were full to capacity.

Graham Martindale

If you can't see the player, Click here to download 'John Pashley Speaking 1988-89' - 


We all loved John, he knew his New Orleans jazz so well. In my band's early days he would often dep on trumpet and travelled a long way to play for little money, as others will know. He would often take over the band, it didn't bother me as he was good at it, better than me.

He knew his chords well and wanted them as simple as possible, as he said to me, skeletal. He was good at giving advice and always right.  My favourite - I was struggling with some chords, just a short part of the tune, and he said if I was having trouble just play a tasteful silence.

Another musician I know, described him well as a professional Yorkshireman.

Farewell John, Rest In Peace.

Barrie Marshall

23/09/19 -

So sad to hear about John Pashley's passing. I played with John on and off for more than 40 years, often on parades, and he was a regular guest with the Savoy Jazzmen for some years. We always managed to fit in a clarinet duet at some time during the evening. I was in touch with him earlier this year when he was home from hospital awaiting further therapy and he was playing both trumpet and clarinet at home without difficulty.

John had a phenomenal knowledge of chords and his knowledge of jazz history was encyclopaedic - on a par with the late Brian Rust! We were a pair of anoraks together and usually greeted each other with questions like "who played drums on the Punch Miller Trio recording in 1941 or when did Lawrence Duhe record?" I cant' remember an occasion when he didn't know the answer. He also had a comprehensive library of recordings and was able to supply copies of obscure and otherwise unobtainable recordings.

John was a multi-instrumentalist. He was a trained musician and his favourite instruments were firstly trumpet and secondly clarinet but he played many others. I never visited him at home but I know his collection of instruments was extensive - at least 10 clarinets for example. When I played with him he was usually on trumpet or tenor sax and occasionally bass sax but we also played clarinet together and he played double bass with my band at the Cheshire Show in 1988 with Dave Donohoe on trombone and Dennis Field on cornet (which was recorded). We played outdoors in a high wind with no microphone shields but even so the strength and accuracy of his bass playing shines through.

My thoughts are with Maureen and family.

RIP John

Brian Legan

23/09/19 -

I've known Pash for over 45 years and have played in many bands with him. He was indeed a proud Yorkshire Man and a one off. Although his first love was New Orleans style jazz - he named his last band John Pashley and Friends - and he would say to us - shall we play a bit Oh'Daft ,followed by a bit Oh'Latin, then without a thought he would include a beautiful slow ballad, that many would not even attempt to include in the program. But that was John -

RIP Dear Friend.

Keith Daniel West Yorkshire

27/09/19 -

I worked with Pash sporadically over many years via many different connections and bands, starting with Jim Wilkes and most recently ..New Orleans Wiggle.

Great loss to the Northern Jazz scene of a big time character. Fine driving Tpt. lead. He left 'reeders' in no doubt where he sat in melodic phrasing.

Hard to believe that I won't be exchanging Yorks and Lancs. banter with that ruddy Tyke again.
Going to miss you, White Rose bugger from a Red Rose bugger! '

Howard Murray

28/09/19 -

Could I reinforce all that has been written about John Pashley? Although we never played regularly together I’ve known him for close on forty years, encountering him when one, or both, of us has been depping. Two anecdotes will suffice. Quite some years ago we fell into a discussion about diminished seventh chords. John pointed out that quite often the diminished was a substitution for a dominant seventh with a flattened ninth – as in the first middle eight bar of Making Whoopee – in the key of G an E7-9, followed very logically by Am (then D7-9). A lesson remembered.

More recently before the start of a gig, while warming up/noodling, one of us played a snatch of an Irish folksong (Carrickfergus? The Water is Wide? Father O’Flynn?), the other joining in for a two chorus duet. I was much impressed by the breadth of his knowledge. A most learned (and humorous) musician and a pleasure to know.

He was a most caring person and was extremely supportive of drummer Bill Evans when Bill had health problems a year ago. He visited Bill (and Ann) regularly, a favour which Bill has returned, seeing John at home and in hospital during John’s recent, final, illness.

John Muskett

10/10/19 -

Much has been said about Pash - or Fats as he was affectionately known to some - and, for me personally, he had a lot to answer for ! For it was his band being engaged by the landlord of what was my regular Sunday night haunt in the late 70s - the Jack & Gill, not far from my then home in Allerton, Bradford - that first got me interested in trad jazz. And I have never looked back ! However, John's recent passing has gotten me harking back to that period, and for the life of me I cannot recall the drummer and banjo players

Ian Pickles



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