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Posts from 2017-01-15

Tribute To Ed Bickert by Dave

 

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When I was seventeen, I though Ed Bickert was one of the coolest guys in the world -even though I knew virtually nothing about the guitar. But my trumpet teacher took me to George's and Bourbon Street regularly at that time (late 1970s/early 1980s), where Ed could often be found as both a sideman and featured artist.  I soon fell under his spell, and would watch him for hours. At that time, he smoked steadily during the gigs.  Often he would light one up during the tune, then just put it in his mouth and keep on playing.  I will always remember that the ash from his cigarette would grow to seemingly impossible lengths of an inch or more, yet would not fall.  You see - with the exception of his hands - Ed was virtually motionless on stage.  This is what impressed me.  It wasn't the smoking, but his complete and total immersion in the music that he was creating.  He did eventually stop smoking, but still maintained his cool. Nothing flustered him.  During a show at Ontario Place, Rob McConnell referred to Ed as "our acid rock guitar player".  He just gave one of his sly little smiles, and continued sitting rock still. I had the opportunity to met him years later, and told him of the impact his playing had on me as a teenager.  He was very gracious, as one would expect. His style was widely influential, but no one could copy his unique tone and incredible phrasing.  You KNEW when you were hearing Ed Bickert. Ed received the Order of Canada in 1996, and retired in the early 2000's after the sad death of his wife Madeline.  Last November, he turned 84 years old.  But in my mind he's still 50, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, still as a statue and playing that old solid body Telecaster. Thanks for the music Ed