Coastal Jazz and Blues Society cofounder Ken Pickering dies

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      Vancouver's music world is in mourning over the death of a man who brightened the lives of countless local jazz fans.

      Ken Pickering died at the age of 66 on Friday (August 10) after being diagnosed with cancer.

      He cofounded the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society more than three decades ago.

      He was also the founding artistic director of the annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

      "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," wrote his partner Christine Fedina on her Facebook page. "Sadly the cancer had spread to the point where treatment was no longer possible. 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. As you can imagine, I am gutted and exhausted. While I will read and gratefully accept tributes, expressions of love and support, please know that I am unable to get back to everyone at this time."

      Pickering lived on Bowen Island, but he was known and appreciated by musicians around the world as kind-hearted, considerate, and fiercely intelligent.

      In 2015, the Straight asked Pickering for his top three records. He responded with John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, Miles Davis's Miles Smiles, and Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

      His "game-changing concert" came in 1969.

      "By that time I was frequenting the very hip Record Gallery on Robson Street, which specialized in jazz and classical music," he said. "One morning I dropped in on Fraser Nicholson, the super-cool proprietor, and he asked me if I was going to hear Rahsaan Roland Kirk at the River Queen that weekend.

      "As I began to protest and relate my broke high-school-student reality, he just popped the cash register, pulled out a five and said 'Kid, get your ass down to the club.' I did, it was amazing, and that music changed my life!"