Ashley Keating

Ashley Keating
Popular Melbourne banjo player and bandleader Ashley Keating died in Melbourne on Friday the 8th of December 2017. Born in Queensland in 1939 Ashley formed his first band at 18 years of age and went overseas to the United States and United Kingdom at 21 years of age. In Britain he played banjo with the highly respected New Orleans revival band the Gothic Jazz Band and even found time to be a roadie on a George Lewis tour of Britain.
In 1971 he played double bass with the Yarra Yarra band on their tour of Britain and the United States. In the early 1990s Ashley came to live in Melbourne and in 1994 formed the Louisiana Shakers a band steeped in the traditions of the New Orleans Revival which he led from the banjo chair until ill health forced him to reluctantly retire fairly recently. Ashley had very wide tastes in roots music but it was the music of the New Orleans revival was to be his playing forte over the last twenty years or so. Under his leadership the Shakers enjoyed a remarkably stable personnel with two original Shakers , Nick Polites and Kevin Bolton, still very active playing members of the band. The band plays weekly at the Clyde Hotel in Carlton , one of their many long residences and the band bring to the bandstand a deep love and understanding of New Orleans jazz, a credit to Ashley.
As a musician Ashley was peerless. Examples of various recordings played in tribute to him on jazz radio recently show his unerring sense of taste and timing keeping a tight cohesive rhythm section together for a New Orleans front line . The Shakers are a band held in such high regard that with Ashley as a leader they have produced seven CDs between 1996 and 2012 and enjoyed five tours to Britain and Europe ranging in length from five weeks to five months . The musicians in the band have spoken as to how enjoyable these trips were due to Ashley’s attention to detail in planning the trips so that nothing was left to chance. Whilst a busy musician and bandleader he found time to indulge his other passion for the Melbourne Storm.
A tribute afternoon will be held at the Clyde Hotel , Elgin Street , Carlton on Sunday the 15th of October starting at 1.00 pm until late.

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