In Memory of Ken Pickering

Thanks to all who attended the memorial service at Christ Church Cathedral, and who sent kind notes, reminiscences and memories.

Ken’s wife Christine has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Ken Pickering Fund to Support Innovation at Coastal Jazz.


In the early hours of August 10th, 2018 co-founder of the Vancouver
International Jazz festival and long-time artistic director of Coastal Jazz
and Blues Society Ken Pickering peacefully departed this life in the
loving presence of his wife Christine Fedina.

The eloquent and heartfelt tributes that have flooded in from across the
globe in the wake of his passing testify to his lasting impact on the jazz
world, and to the deep love and respect he inspired in an expansive
global community of musicians and friends.

Ken was the key visionary and sustaining genius behind one of the
world’s most exciting annual musical celebrations. His discerning
curatorial sense brought a world of brilliant, creative music to
Vancouver every year, creating community around the most intense and
passionate expressions of the human spirit.

Ken had deep historical and spiritual roots on the West Coast. He was of
Haida and Shuswap descent on his father’s side, his ancestors were
among the founding families of Victoria, and the towns of Port McNeil
and McNeil Bay. The adventurous spirit that was Ken’s birthright may
explain his leap to open his own independent record store, which as
Black Swan records became a key shrine for Vancouver’s serious
musical pilgrims in the 1970s and 80s. His spirit for adventure
continued to drive his insatiable curiosity and his tendency to immerse
himself fully in his passions, whether music, cooking, or design, in
search of deeper understanding and mastery.

Ken found his true spiritual mate and partner for adventure in Christine
Fedina, who he married in 2002. Chris was an integral part of Ken’s life,
and his global musical family, and the two became famous for sharing
their hospitality — and incredible cooking — with visiting musicians
during the jazz festival. Two years ago, as Ken began to step back from
his duties with Coastal Jazz, and as they both felt the urge to live closer
to the ocean and forest, they had the opportunity to build a home on
Bowen Island. They built it together, from the ground up, with joy. And
in the end they created a remarkable space of light and beauty to share
with their beloved dog Booker and their many visiting friends.

Above all, Ken will be remembered for his sweetness and generosity. He
truly loved it when others could experience the things that he was
passionate about, whether it was a new exciting group from Sweden, or
a savoury strain of heirloom beans from Mexico. He always did so
without pretension or ego, but rather with a profound appreciation for
the beauty and pleasure of this world.

Nothing could beat a “hang” with Ken. We will miss his voice, his style,
his laughter, his sense of cool, and the joy he took in small, beautiful
things. And we are better people for knowing his dignity, grace,
humility, and questing spirit.