WHEN many of Canada's top jazz musicians perform in Toronto tonight to celebrate the 80th birthday of guitarist Ed Bickert, there will be a strong Manitoba connection onstage and behind the scenes.
Jazz icon Bickert has Manitoba roots, being born in Hochfield; Vancouver guitarist Oliver Gannon started life in Winnipeg; and the concert producer Jennifer (Red) Thorpe was born in Winnipeg and lived in Point du Bois, Lac du Bonnet and Beausejour before moving to northwest Ontario.
The celebratory concert honouring the retired Bickert will feature 15 musicians, including four guitarists, and be hosted by recently retired Katie Malloch, the longtime radio voice of Canadian jazz.
The concert, in the CBC's Glenn Gould Studio, will be recorded and broadcast on Canada Live on Nov. 29, Bickert's actual birthday.
The guitarist performed and recorded with many greats in his career, including saxophonist Paul Desmond. His first recording date, in 1957 in Toronto, was on the Moe Koffman tune The Swinging Shepherd Blues, which became a surprise hit single.