Ed Bickert

The Guitar Mastery of Ed Bickert

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Ed Bickert remained content performing in Canada rather than opting for extensive touring during a good part of his career. This two-CD compilation issued by DSM begins with a 1979 live set recorded far away in Montreux, featuring two of his favorite musicians, bassist Don Thompson and drummer Terry Clarke, with whom he has worked on numerous recordings. Bickert's style of playing emphasizes melody more than hot solos, though his ability to play intricate passages is readily apparent as well. The easygoing exchanges between Bickert and Thompson in "Sunday Kind of Love" and "Yours Is My Heart Alone," accented by Clarke's crisp brushwork, help to make it a very rewarding date. The second disc began as a 1993 reunion with Bickert's former employer, tenor saxophonist Fraser MacPherson, though MacPherson tired after just two numbers (he died just a few months after this 1993 session) and was replaced for the remaining tracks by guitarist Oliver Gannon. In spite of MacPherson's poor health, there's nothing wrong with his playing in the gently swinging "Gone With the Wind" or lush "Easy Living," with Bickert's light touch complementing his final work. Gannon also meshes well with Bickert, especially in "What Am I Here For" and the almost conversational "I Hear a Rhapsody." This double-CD set should be considered essential listening for fans of jazz guitar.

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