Ken Pickering, the co-founder and artistic director emeritus of Coastal Jazz and Blues Society and the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, died of throat cancer on August 10. He was 66.
The announcement of Pickering's passing came via a heartfelt message from his wife, Christine Fedina: "It is with a shattered heart that I bring you the news that I lost the love of my life, my soulmate, my everything, my dear sweet Ken in the early hours of this morning."
"Please know that he was supported with absolute clear love as he transitioned and was peaceful and accepting with tremendous grace. It was beautiful. I know that his soul was lifted out of his broken body on the wings of love and affection from each and every one of you."
In 1985, Pickering co-founded Coastal Jazz along with John Orysik and Robert Kerr. The society produces the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the biggest not-for-profit music presenter in BC.
On Twitter, musician Thomas Strønen (@thomasstronen) commented that Pickering was "one of the finest men in jazz, always driven by enthusiasm, love, dedication and respect." Pianist and composer David Rysphan (@ryshpanmusic) called Pickering "a vital force in Canadian culture & the proliferation of improvised music."
We at the BC Alliance offer our sincere condolences to Ken's friends and family, our friends at Coastal Jazz, and the many members of Ken's communities affected by this loss.
For more information on Ken's passing, and the numerous tributes which have already begun to pour in, see the CBC's coverage here.