Ed Bickert, 1932-2019


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One of Canada’s finest musicians, guitarist Ed Bickert, died on Thursday. He was 86. He was quiet and reserved, but the rich harmonies in Bickert’s playing captivated listeners and fellow musicians alike. Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, with whom Bickert performed and recorded in the 1970s, wrote in the notes for one of his albums that he sometimes turned around on the bandstand to ”count the strings on Ed’s guitar … how does he get to play chorus after chorus of chord sequences which could not possibly sound better on a keyboard?”

Aside from his work with Desmond, Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass and a cross section of Canada’s finest modern jazz groups, Bickert was in demand for his abilities as an accompanist for singers, including Rosemary Clooney. The <em>Ottawa Citizen</em> obituary of Bickert incorporates one of his small-group videos. To read the article, go here.

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