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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Charlie Biddle


Charlie Biddle (bassist, promoter) was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 28, 1926 and passed away on February 24 in 2003 in Montreal. After serving in Asia during World War II, he studied music at the Salacandro Institute of Music and specifically, bass.

On tour in 1948 with Vernon Issac’s Three Jacks and a Jill, Montreal’s tolerance about black and white musicians performing together appealed to him and he adopted the city as his home, fostering a lifelong love of Canada and jazz.

In his performing career Charlie played with Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, Art Tatum and Lionel Hampton. In his enthusiasm as a promoter he brought many great names to Montreal such as John Coltrane, Pepper Adams, Bill Evans and Thad Jones. In his role as a club owner – Biddle’s Jazz and Ribs was the place to go to hear Charlie and some of North America’s best performers. Oliver Jones launched his first highly successful album there on Justin Time records.

A 3 day festival attempt in 1979, “Jazz de Chez Nous” inspired the internationally renowned Festival de Jazz de Montreal which appeared the following year. Charlie’s honours include becoming a member of the Order of Canada in 2003 and the Oscar Peterson Prize in 2000. “Charlie Biddle Street” in Montreal commemorates his legacy of jazz in Quebec.