UK born and based trumpeter Ashton grew up in Luton, Bedfordshire, where he started learning the trumpet aged 9 through the Luton Music Service. He attended primary and secondary schools in the local area before attending the Luton Sixth Form College. Throughout this period, Ashton played with local youth music ensembles, such as the Luton Youth Jazz Orchestra. Some valuable opportunities with the band include a performance at the Royal Albert Hall, a concert with British jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth, and a workshop with American composer, arranger, and performer Gordon Goodwin. Ashton also played regularly with the NYJO Academy Big Band aged 17-18.
In 2016, Ashton gained a scholarship to study an undergraduate degree in Jazz at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire until 2020. During this time, he received regular trumpet tuition from the likes of Percy Pursglove and Steve Fishwick. He also benefitted greatly from the teachings of Ryan Quigley, John O'Gallagher, Arnie Somogyi, Jeremy Price, Hans Koller, and several others. Ashton studied composition and arranging with Ed Puddick, for which he developed a keen interest in his final year.
Ashton has been coached by and performed the music of Tim Berne and Matt Mitchell, as well as Drew Gress, Patrick Cornelius, and John Fedchock - on separate occasions in the Eastside Jazz Club. He has played support sets for some of these artists, as well as Ross Stanley.
Ashton has attended a variety of masterclasses led by Dick Oatts, Jerry Bergonzi, Eddie Henderson, Bruce Barth, Gilad Hekselman, Soweto Kinch, John Abercrombie, Marc Copland, Dave Liebman, Richie Beirach, Mark Nightingale, Mike Lovatt, Martin Speake, Jorge Rossy, and Ethan Iverson, and has played in some of these coached sessions.
Whilst studying in Birmingham, Ashton played regularly with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Ellington Orchestra, as well as the RBC Jazz Orchestra, and has been fortunate enough to perform under the direction of British composer Mike Gibbs with the band. Ashton has also played with the Birmingham Jazz Orchestra - an ensemble comprising musicians with connections to the Birmingham scene.
Ashton is experienced in big and small-band settings, both as bandleader for his own projects and sideman for others. He has played at Cheltenham Jazz Festival both with his own sextet and with John Surman, Chris Laurence, and John Marshall, playing as part of the trumpet section in the 'Brass Project Live' (featuring the music of John Warren). He has also featured as a sideman for other festival dates in England.
Some venues and other events he has played at include Birmingham Town Hall, Cheltenham Town Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Lincoln Cathedral, Southport Jazz Festival, and more. Additionally, he has been fortunate enough to play abroad in Europe.
As a freelance trumpet player, Ashton performs regularly up and down the country in jazz, funk, soul, pop, dance, and era-music settings, often for private functions, events, and weddings.