Legendary Toronto Musician Big Rude Jake Dies at 57

The jazz artist was a longtime staple of the city's music scene

Photo: B. Beard Photography

BY Kaelen BellPublished Jun 17, 2022

Toronto legend Big Rude Jake — the irony-laden, poem-writing troubadour who mixed up the city's neo-swing scene with his blend of jazz, blues, ragtime, rockabilly and Cajun music — has died at 57 after being diagnosed with small-cell carcinoma of the bladder in spring 2021.

Earlier this month, more than 20 musicians and friends of Jake (a.k.a. A. Jacob Hiebert) came together at Toronto's Lula Lounge for Jakefest, a benefit concert to support Hiebert and his family while he was undergoing treatment and unable to work.

A GoFundMe campaign was also set up to raise funds for Heibert. Throughout his cancer treatment, Heibert continued to share music, hosting weekly Facebook shows and running an online music therapy program for adults with disabilities.

Big Rude Jake released his debut album as Big Rude Jake and His Gentlemen Players, Butane Fumes & Bad Cologne, in 1993. He would go on to release nearly a dozen records in his lifetime. 

See some tweets memorializing Big Rude Jake below. 

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