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Charlie Biddle: 1926-2003
Charlie Biddle

Born: July 1926 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: February 5, 2003 in Montreal, Quebec

Bassist helped develop Montreal jazz scene

Copyright © 2003 


Charlie Biddle was a major figure on the Canadian jazz scene. His career spanned five decades, and he is credited with a huge role in developing jazz in Quebec.

He lived in Canada for 55 years, and became a Canadian citizen in 2000. Earlier in January, Biddle was invested as a member of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest honours.

He studied music at Temple University on the G.I. Bill, then moved to Montreal in 1948. The city was Canada's main jazz centre, and Biddle played a key role in it. Oscar Peterson was a long-time friend, and the bassist brought artists like Johnny Hodges, Art Tatum, Earl Hines, Bill Evans, Art Farmer and Thad Jones to town.

He organised a three day jazz festival in the city in 1979, a precursor to the now well-established Montreal International Jazz Festival, which took up the challenge the following year.

He died after a after a long battle with kidney cancer. His four children -- Sonya, Charles Jr., Stephanie and Tracy -- are all active in the province's entertainment industry.

JJA members are invited to submit a full obituary or appreciation.

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