b. Edward Isaac Bickert, 29 November 1932, Hochfeld, Manitoba, Canada. A highly gifted guitarist, Bickert was active in Toronto in the 50s, playing with several leading musicians including Ron Collier, Paul Desmond and Rob McConnell. He attracted wider attention thanks in part to his regular accompaniment for visiting American jazz musicians, including Dave McKenna, and through his contributions to Desmond’s last recordings in the mid-70s. It was not until the late 70s, however, that Bickert took full advantage of the manner in which fellow musicians accepted his gently understated skills. He toured overseas with Milt Jackson, recorded with Oscar Peterson, Scott Hamilton, Benny Carter and Rosemary Clooney, and also made records under his own name. In the 80s he visited the UK with Peter Appleyard and also appeared there with George Shearing. He continued to make records, including Mutual Street, an interesting duo set with McConnell. In 1990 he appeared at the Concord Summer Jazz Festival in California, playing with Marshal Royal, Ernestine Anderson and others. A highly musical player, interestingly combining introspection with a curiously unassertive authority, Bickert is clearly a major, if still widely unrecognized, talent. He was made a Member of the Order Of Canada in January 1997.
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