The Artistry of…Ed Bickert

There is something quintessentially Canadian about the way the great Ed Bickert played; a beauty in the reservation and pinpoint attention to detail – without fanfare. Modesty is a boasted national trait and for many it is one of pride. Bickert’s playing touches the heart and soul of a tune. None of this is to say he is a shy and retiring or easy to miss player. The artist is a superstar. The signature is the unmistakeable sound and the influence he has had on a generation of younger players. The 1974 appearance on Paul Desmond’s Pure Desmond recording was propulsion into international recognition. Bickert replaced Jim Hall on the disc. Hall was unavailable and recommended Ed. It is like a perfect Hollywood star is born story. Commenting on the recording Don Thompson said to Hall, “Man, I just heard the Desmond record, and that’s the best I ever heard you play.” Hall replied, “…thanks, man. But that wasn’t me – that was Ed Bickert”. Thompson has also said this: “Bickert’s playing was impeccable… The inner voice movement was perfect, the logic is impeccable, every chord was the best possible chord … it was perfection all the time”.