Jack Ashford On Tambourine

I often wondered if you will be like me and listen to music or an instrument differently once you hear the story behind it.

Case in point: do you hear the tambourine in Motown hits such as "War" by Edwin Starr and "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye? Take a listen for the tempo driving skills of Jack Ashford who was a session musician for the famed Detroit label during its glory days of the 1960s and 70s. He may not be the most famous of the session players, sometimes referred to as the Funk Brothers, but his driving beat helped make those songs move and groove!

During his NAMM Oral History interview, he spoke about his early career and how his role in Motown began. Check it out!

Now, take a listen to some of his recordings and let me know if you hear them a bit different now that you know Jack Ashford by name!

Dan Del Fiorentino
NAMM Music Historian