Ashley John Long is an award-winning virtuoso double bassist and composer active in a diverse range of musical idioms including jazz and improvisation, early and contemporary chamber music, and as a soloist.
He has performed and recorded internationally with some of the UK's leading Jazz musicians, as well as accompanying visiting international artists, whilst his work as a soloist has seen the premiers of numerous new works for solo bass. He toured in 2008 with French double bassist Louis-Michel Marion in a series of recitals featuring music by Xenakis, Bussotti, Scelsi and Barry Guy. Over 20 composers have written new works for him and has had performances broadcast on television and radio throughout the U.K and Europe.
A virtuoso improviser, Ash has developed a unique approach to the instrument, creating innovative new performance techniques including methods of preparing the bass and performed and recorded with some of the genre's leading players and released a solo disc Psi on FMR in 2017.
His work in the orchestral world has taken in everything from Gabrielli to Stockhausen and he has performed as principal double bass with various ensembles, as well as playing a great deal of chamber music.
From 2012-14 Ash toured the world with NoFit State Circus' critically acclaimed show Bianco out of which grew his collaboration with Gareth Jones, resulting in the A Place to Start EP by Fireproof Giant.
As a composer, Ash has carved a reputation as a creator of innovative scores that balance fine detail with freedom and flexibility whilst retaining a strong melodic sense. Recent commissions have been acclaimed for their original and inventive writing including: Flux (2006) and Hevelspending (2010) for the Lunar Saxophone Quartet, Songs of the Night (2007) for Joel Garthwaite, XAS (2008) for himself and Louis-Michel Marion, Dance Miniatures (2013) for the Syzygy Saxophone Quartet, Natasha (2015-2018) for Asking4It, Etiäinen (2020) and Shadow Play (2021) for UPROAR, my way is in the sand flowing (2020) for Matthew Featherstone and Somewhere Becoming Rain (2021) for Trio Anima.
He has also taught composition workshops for Arts Active in jazz and classical composition and led schools-based composition projects which have resulted in a series of orchestral works for children. 2018-2019 saw him participating in the London Philharmonic Orchestra's young composers scheme which culminated in the orchestral work Lunea (2019).
He also works as an educator and is a lecturer in musicology, composition and performance at Cardiff University. He has also taught at The University of Glamorgan and given masterclasses at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, County Wexford School of Music (Ireland) and MusicTime School (Milan, Italy) and acted as an orchestra sectional and Mini Bass project tutor for Gwent Music.
He studied at RWCMD (BMus) and Cardiff University (PhD) where he undertook research into contemporary performance practice and composition.
Ashley is a D'Addario Performing Artist and uses Helicore and Kaplan bass strings.
Press Quotations and Testimonials
"Long, as elsewhere, was given room to exploit the phenomenal dexterity for which he’s renowned and which makes him, in my book, one of Europe’s leading practitioners."
Art Scene In Wales
"But it was Long who was outstanding, somehow tweaking sliding harmonics and the high-pitched bird calls from his double bass."
"Long has incredible technique, as comfortable in moments that have the sound purity of classical music, and stretching his sounds then beyond the expected and the deemed possible, and luckily not as a demonstrating of showmanship, but with the sole intention of creating new music."
The Free Jazz Collective
"Long creates highly seductive and elusive textures. On first listening, I was struck not only by a Gallic elegance but also hints of Toru Takemitsu in the striking combinations of timbres, creating complex interactions between the three instruments. There is also a certain static element to the work, as if we were listening to a series of striking vignettes."
"Ashley John Long is the most pronounced voice throughout the album — his terrific technique is asserted in creative ways without upsetting the balance of the quartet. His soloing is pretty jaw-dropping throughout. "
“Long has developed into the kind of musician who makes bass solos interesting, he is a supremely imaginative player and a phenomenal technician. The previous week I’d seen him at the Queens Head in Monmouth ...he turned in some brilliant solos then and did so again now combining boundless imagination with jaw dropping technical skill.”
"Ashley John Long spielt impulsiv und brilliant den kontrabass."
"His arco work is quite superb."
"Long’s score veers from the tranquil to the tempestuous, before leading us to a troubled, smoothly discordant resolution."
British Theatre Guide
“Right at the cutting edge.”
“Phenomenal Welsh bassist Ashley John Long – a unique voice on his instrument.”
“Ashley John Long is a pretty incredible performer yeah; it’s like he has so much music in him that it just bursts out like steam from a pressure cooker”
“Ashley John Long was often a manic presence, contorting himself around his bass.”
Ears for Eyes
“Flux by Ashley John Long, uses complex mathematical equations to derive its musical materials, and the result is a magical texture of static intervals and delicate acoustic beating”
Radio New Zealand
“Plenty of verve and energy propels Ashley John Long’s rather diffuse Hevelspending.”
"[Shelter] is complex, intricate, at times densely textured and percussive with passages of purity of sound echoing Bach."
“There is much to admire here, particularly the work of Ashley-John Long on bass”