Remembering Ed Bickert

November 29, 1932 – February 28, 2019


A tribute to the quietly swinging Canadian jazz guitarist

Guitarist Ed Bickert passed away on February 28, 2019 at the age of 86.

Born Nov. 29, 1932 in Hochfeld, Manitoba, Canada, Bickert often played with his parents (a violinist and a pianist) at country dances in the 1940s.

After moving to Toronto in 1952, Bickert became one of the top local musicians, working frequently in the studios.

A bop-based guitarist with a cool tone and a tasteful style, Bickert worked with Moe Koffman, the Phil Nimmons Nine and Rob McConnell including in the latter’s Boss Brass.

He became known in the United States for his work with the Paul Desmond Quartet (1974-75) and recordings with Oscar Peterson (1980), Rosemary Clooney, Ken Peplowski, Ernestine Anderson, Ruby Braff and Betty Carter plus his own albums for Concord and Sackville.

Ed Bicker retired around the time of his 70th birthday but is still considered a Canadian jazz legend today.

He is featured performing “Street Of Dreams” at the Bern Jazz Festival in 1992 with bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Terry Clarke.

-Scott Yanow

There’s a prominent bass player in Toronto named Steve Wallace, who played on a couple of Ed’s albums, as well as with Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass for a few years, with Ed. He is an extremely perceptive writer who has a WordPress blog, sometimes just commenting, sometimes stirring the pot a bit. But his rather long tribute to Ed speaks volumes, as do the many comments added at the end.

Ed was something that probably could have only happened in a place like Canada….. he would have had to possess a more assertive nature to make it in a place like New York, but that “aw shucks” almost cowboy personality made him revered here even almost twenty years after he hung up the guitar.

Years ago, Jim Hall’s wife, Jane, wanted to record a tune of her singing as a surprise birthday present one year for Jim. Being Jim Hall’s wife, she could have called anyone to accompany her, but she asked Ed.