RIP Ken Pickering, guiding light of the Vancouver Jazz Festival

Ken Pickering, co-founder of the Vancouver Jazz Festival and the occasion’s creative director who was beloved and appreciated by untold jazz musicians in Canada and past, died Friday, succumbing to most cancers.

Pickering helped launched the pageant in 1985 and introduced his jazz erudition to bear to make sure that it promoted music of the highest calibre. He was a passionate advocate for music on jazz’s leading edge. Following Pickering’s sickness, he retired this yr and Rainbow Robert has adopted in his footsteps as the pageant’s creative director.

When it emerged Friday that Pickering had handed, the jazz world’s social media resonated with expressions of unhappiness and tributes.

Pickering was too in poor health to attend a lot of this yr’s pageant in Vancouver. Before it started, he wrote on Facebook: “Well it’s only some days to the pageant and my web page has been quiet. Mostly I’ve been attempting to assist out a bit on my twitter feed to amplify the fest message. Finding it simpler to cope with however even that’s going to cut back as therapies hit full swing.

“Many of you already know by now that I’m coping with one other spherical of well being points that surfaced in early May. After weeks of exams of all types it’s turn out to be clear that the most cancers has come again aggressively. Strangely with little or no in the means of apparent signs, however they’re coming to the fore now. I’m into one other spherical of chemo this week – most likely extra – however the objective is to qualify and transfer to immunotherapy as quickly as potential. So that’s the place we’re at. Chris is powerful and we have now tons of good assist in the rapid neighborhood right here on Bowen. Because of my new actuality I’ll nearly actually miss my first pageant since 1985. A wierd feeling. Rainbow and her staff have put collectively a doozy and there’s nothing I want greater than to see everybody absorb some stay music and luxuriate in themselves.”

Just earlier than the pageant ended, Pickering fortunately had the power to soak up some music, and to advertise upcoming exhibits: He wrote on Facebook: “We’re heading in to Vancouver city at the moment for a number of hours. Hope to attach with Samuel BlaserRainbow RobertTorsten Muller & different pals, plus hear the 5pm Ironworks present: Kris Davis Aram Bajakian & Dylan van der Schyff Energy not nice, however I have to say lacking most of the fest has sucked, so it’ll be good to take in a bit of the vibe. That’s life. Maybe see some of you good of us at the Iron. Thanks everybody for all the type phrases!”

The subsequent day, he wrote: “Yesterday’s temporary Vancouver pageant go to to Ironworks 5pm present was a tonic for Chris and I. So nice to see many many pals & particularly Kris Davis, Dylan van der Schyff, Aram Bajakian – the trio that was enjoying collectively for the first time. And to reconnect in particular person with Samuel Blaser (satirically the final time he as on the town was my first rounds of chemo/radiation in 2016) so I couldn’t miss twice. Piotr Turkiewicz, Rainbow Robert, Emma Lancaster and so many different nice folks, too many to say though you’re all in my coronary heart.

“If I used to be on the town at the moment, there’s a lot good shit, at the Roundhouse, David Lam Park, tonight at Ironworks with Eric Revis Quartet (Vandermark, Kris D, Chad T) and Jaime Branch’s Fly or Die can be a night to die for … properly perhaps dangerous alternative of phrases, however it is going to be superior! If you’re on the town don’t miss it. Thanks once more for all the love as I battle this sickness factor.”

Pickering befriended musicians and fellow jazz promoters from round the world, not solely once they got here to Vancouver, however when he was overseas. Here’s a YouTube message from Pickering to his counterpart at the Jarasum Jazz Festival in Seoul, South Korea, recorded at the 2013 Jazz Ahead! jazz commerce truthful/pageant in Bremen, Germany:

Below is only a smattering of the considerate and heartfelt phrases about Pickering on Facebook since he handed:

Ottawa Jazz Festival govt producer Catherine O’Grady wrote: “Our great mentor, Ken PIckering, is dead of cancer, too soon, too too soon. Ken was for all of us a leader, mentor, music zealot, knowing and loving those fine musical moments of genius and insight; Ken was also loving and kind and the definition of friend. I cannot imagine the sadness for Chris, the love of his life. All of us in the Canadian jazz community feel this immense loss as do artists around the world. Ah, Ken, we love you Man. Our loss is deep and profound.”

Vancouver pianist Lisa Cay Miller wrote: “I’m so deeply unhappy to be taught of the passing of Ken Pickering. He was such a beautiful man. He was sincere, honest, constant, truthful and had such creative integrity and imaginative and prescient. He was an inspiration. His affect upon the musical scene in Vancouver and overseas will proceed to be felt for a lot of, a few years. I already miss you Ken. Much love and respect. My deepest condolences to Christine, something I can do to assist, something, I’m there.”

New York pianist Matt Mitchell wrote: ” RIP Ken Pickering. I do know so much of musicians who’re and have been grateful for the work you probably did, your advocacy, and your friendship. I’m undoubtedly one of them; I really feel lucky to have identified you.”

Brooklyn-based Canadian expat saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff wrote: “Woke as much as the unhappy information of Ken Pickering‘s passing, one of the founders of the Vancouver Jazz Festival and an important force in the Vancouver, Canadian and beyond creative music scenes. Rest in peace with thoughts and condolences to his family, he’ll actually be missed.”

Swedish vocalist Lina Nyberg wrote: “Thank you Ken Pickering❤️ in your lifetime achievement in the world of music and thanks for being such a warmhearted spirited and beneficiant good friend. RIP 🙏⭐️ Dear Christine you’re in my ideas. ❤️I’ll always remember the heat welcome you two gave me/us and the days on Bowen in Vancouver final yr.”

Calgary bassist Kodi Hutchinson wrote: “Saddened to listen to of the passing of Ken Pickering at the moment. He was a beautiful man whose ardour and imaginative and prescient made him a real chief in the Canadian jazz scene. He carried himself with grace and integrity and his legacy is one thing that we will all mirror upon with admiration. My condolences to his household, pals and to Vancouver’s total jazz neighborhood.”

New York jazz publicist Matt Merewitz wrote: “Ken Pickering was one of the most devoted listeners and stewards of creative music I have EVER met. When I first met him at Winter Jazzfest at Kenny’s Castaways probably 10 years ago, I immediately knew we were kindred spirits. He was such an enthusiastic fan and champion of great art and thus an expert curator. The world is less bright without Ken in it. My sincere well wishes to his family. An incredibly sad day. Rest in Tempo, Ken!”

I by no means had the pleasure to fulfill Pickering, however in recent times we had amiable exchanges on Twitter principally and fewer so on Facebook. He by no means failed me to impressed along with his enthusiasm for and information of jazz. in addition to his constructive spirit.

Rest in peace, Ken Pickering.

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