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Long-time Bassist with Shirley Horn TrioCopyright © 2001
Charles Ables was a guitarist when he asked singer Shirley Horn if he could join her band. Ms Horn replied that she didn't need a guitarist, but she did need a bass player.
Ables promptly took up electric bass, and remained part of the singer's trio for three decades, performing with her all over the world and contributing to many of her recordings following the resumption of her career in the early 1980s (she had stopped to bring up her family), initially on the SteepleChase label, and later in a string of albums for Verve.
Ables is heard on guitar as well as bass on several of these, including You Won't Forget Me (1990), which featured guest contributions from both Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis, and Light Out of Darkness (1993), Horn's tribute to Ray Charles.
Other albums on which the bassist featured included I Thought About You (1987), Close Enough For Love (1988), Here's To Life (1991), and the Grammy-winning I Remember Miles (1997).
He was born in Mississippi, and his employers as a guitarist included Ray Charles. As well as accompanying Shirley Horn, he is heard with the trio on Carmen McRae's last album, Sarah - Dedicated to You (1990), in which Horn is featured in her often forgotten role as a pianist. He recorded in similar circumstances with Toot Thielemans on his album For My Lady (1991), and with Joe Williams.
He is survived by his mother, Gladys Ables; a brother, Richard Ables; and a daughter, Tiffany Ables.
Thanks to Gian Mario Maletto