Born in 1916 in Copenhagen to German parents, he started working professionally at the age of 17 and enjoyed a career which spanned eight decades.
He accompanied many of the greats of 20th century popular music, including Fats Waller, Edith Piaf, Django Reinhardt and Lionel Hampton.
"I am often accused of being a chameleon," Asmussen, who also acted and painted, told a Danish newspaper last year. "I must say that I broadly agree. I am always embarking on different projects."
Asmussen died just weeks short of his 101st birthday on February 28.
Svend Asmussen and Duke Ellington, circa 1963. Photo: Scanpix