Jay Ashby

  • Associate Professor of Jazz Studies
  • Teacher of Jazz Composition and Trombone
  • Director, Division of Jazz Studies


  • BFA in trombone performance, Ithaca College
  • MM in composition, Duquesne University


Jay Ashby believes strong arranging is as important as strong composing. Even more important, he adds, is “the ability to put your music in the best possible light.”

A five-time Grammy Award-winning producer, Ashby has received nominations in other categories including arranging and engineering. He is known for his performances with such music icons as Paquito D’Rivera and Paul Simon, making him an exceptional musician and one of the most highly regarded performers and arrangers working in the field today.

Ashby has performed, toured, and recorded with some of the most renowned jazz artists in the industry for over 25 years. As a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra and Dizzy’s Alumni All-Star Big Band, Ashby forged long lasting musical relationships with jazz greats including Jon Faddis, Monty Alexander, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, and Bennie Green, among many others.

Through his association with trumpet master Claudio Roditi, Ashby developed a strong affinity for Brazilian Jazz, which led to a 10-year stint as soloist with Astrud Gilberto, as well as arrangements, tours, and recordings with numerous Brazilian artists including Tania Maria, Kenia, Ivan Lins, Trio Da Paz, and the fathers of Bossa Nova Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

A YAMAHA artist, Ashby conducts master classes, residencies, and clinics worldwide, including annual events in Germany, Brazil, and Russia.

In addition to Oberlin Conservatory, he is an adjunct faculty at Duquesne University, where he maintains private studios in both trombone and percussion.

His versatility as a pop trombonist, percussionist, and arranger began in 1999 with pop icon Paul Simon, with whom Ashby toured and performed extensively both on the stage and on television.

Appearances with Simon include the Today Show, Saturday Night Live, Late Show with David Letterman, in addition to performing along side James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and a host of other artists honoring Paul Simon at the 2007 Gershwin Award Show. Most recently, Ashby participated in the star- studded HBO broadcast of the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden.

Ashby can be heard as both a trombonist and a percussionist on over 150 recordings covering a continuum of styles from jazz and pop to world music. Ashby’s current release, Mistaken Identity (CD Baby 2011), with fellow trombonist Steve Davis, has received critical acclaim within the jazz industry, remaining on the national air-play list for an unprecedented 16 weeks, reaching as high as #2.

As an arranger, notable recordings include Live in Paris with Paul Simon, Beyond Brooklyn with Herbie Mann and Phil Woods, and Nancy Wilson’s Turned to Blue and R.S.V.P., among numerous others.

Fall 2022

Prin Pvt Jazz Trombn: — PVST 035
Prin Pvt Jazz Compositn: — PVST 040
Sec Pvt Jazz Trombone: — PVST 084
Sec Pvt Jazz Comp: — PVST 091
Sec Pvt Jazz Applied Study: — PVST 092
Basic Arranging/Composition Techniques — JAZZ 130
Oberlin Jazz Lab- Large Ensemble — JAZZ 701
Jazz Ensemble-Small Group — JAZZ 803
Genre Nova Ensemble — APST 811


Basses Loaded

April 21, 2021

Conservatory athlete Ian Ashby ’22 divides his days between music and the mound.