My fallen friend, brother, comrade… taken from us far, far too soon:
Kenneth Grant Aldcroft (14 November, 1969 – 17 September, 2016)
The extended family of creative music in Toronto, throughout Canada, and internationally is mourning the sudden, shocking death of guitarist, composer, educator, and producer Ken Aldcroft from a heart attack. He was 46.
Above all, Ken was an utterly devoted and loving husband to Maria and father to Liam, 13. The love, dedication, and conviction that defined his exemplary family life radiated outward to the countless musicians with whom Ken played, the myriad recording and performance projects he convened, and the many students –– in private lessons and, since 2010, at the University of Guelph –– he guided and inspired.
Ken’s tremendous skills as a guitarist, composer, and bandleader were matched by his passionate, tireless work ethic and ironclad sense of purpose. He manifested his creative vision by leading and contributing to a dazzling number of groups and projects: Convergence Ensemble, Threads, Hat and Beard, various Ken Aldcroft Trios and Quartets, Alaniaris, AIMToronto Orchestra, solo composition and improvisation, and international touring and recording with duo partners including William Parker, Klaus Kürvers, and Jason Robinson. With his friend and partner John Sorensen he released more than twenty-five recordings of his music on his independent label, Trio Records.
Ken’s efforts forming and sustaining key scene-building initiatives in Toronto embodied his commitment to fostering community through music. Hallmarks of his dedicated stewardship of creative improvised music –– and his bountiful generosity –– include co-founding the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto, the Leftover Daylight Series, and the NOW Series, and serving on the board of the Somewhere There musicians’ collective. He was a great friend to and supporter of fellow musicians, and was deeply loved for his off-the-wall sense of humour, his creativity, his kindness, his perceptiveness, his loyalty, his keen intelligence, and his sheer love of life.
He was a true gentleman who is profoundly missed by the legion of family, friends, colleagues, and listeners he touched and inspired with his music and spirit.
Along with Maria and Liam Aldcroft, Ken is survived by his father, Ken, his mother, Judi, and brothers, Gord and Greg. His life will be celebrated in a private funeral for his family in British Columbia on Sunday, 25 September. Family, friends, colleagues, and supporters in the Toronto area are warmly invited to the ‘Tribute to the Life of Ken Aldcroft’ in the Main Hall of the Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Avenue, just south of Bloor, on Friday, 7 October, 7pm. The event will feature music, spoken reflection and reminiscence, a pot-luck supper, and continued celebration of Ken’s life, long into the night.