Jake Hiebert, the musician known as Big Rude Jake who had been shaking up Canada’s neo-swing circuit since the 1990s, has died. He was 57.
In the spring of 2021, Hiebert was diagnosed with small-cell carcinoma of the bladder, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that had metastasized to other locations in his body.
Touring clubs and bars in Canada and around the world, Big Rude Jake became known for his blend of jazz, blues, swing, ragtime, rockabilly and Cajun music along with his poetry, irony and sense of humour.
Big Rude Jake released his debut album in 1993 and went on to release more than a dozen records throughout his career.
During Hiebert’s battle with cancer, the Toronto music community rallied to host Jake Fest, a concert featuring more than 20 musicians. The sold-out event on Thursday, June 9 raised more than $10,000 to support him and his wife, Anna-Lisa, and his seven-year-old daughter, Hope.
A GoFundMe campaign continues to raise money for Hiebert’s family.
Big Rude Jake was hard to miss on Toronto’s Queen West in the late ’90s. One of my favourite interview subjects back then. Always had a killer band, including Evan Cranley of Stars. RIP https://t.co/EqtP6ehwiR
— Michael Barclay (@mmmbarclay) June 17, 2022
Very sad to hear of the passing of Big Rude Jake from cancer. Thoughts & wishes go out to his family and friends. He was larger than life, and his songs & reputation will carry on in our memories.
— Alex Pangman (@AlexPangman) June 17, 2022
RIP Big Rude Jake at 57. Legend of Toronto music scene, his success and cult like following in 1990s inspired many of us to follow our love of swing, jump, early jazz, blues and put our own spin on it. A underrated musician and poetic, anarchic lyricist. Condolences all 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/3MkgOduvLF
— Raoul Bhaneja (@raoulbhaneja) June 17, 2022