Jimmy Makarounis, founder of Jimmy Mak’s jazz club, passed away on New Year’s Eve this year as the last notes faded from his legendary nightclub’s final concert. The club he captained for decades was shuttered the next morning, finally succumbing to a struggle that paralleled Jimmy’s struggle with throat cancer. As the whole city mourns his passing, a pantheon of Portland music legends unites to pay tribute to Jimmy’s life and his inestimable contribution to Portland culture. “Musical Inspiration: Honoring Jimmy Mak”, hosted by the Soul’d Out Music Festival and fellow music impresario Tony Starlight, will celebrate the life and music of this local legend. Proceeds go towards establishing a music scholarship fund in Jimmy’s name at Portland State University.
“Musical Inspiration: A Tribute to Jimmy Mak” includes a three-set program that will feature noted musicians who performed at Portland’s nationally known jazz club during its initial 20-year run, according to show producer Tony Starlight.
“Jimmy Makarounis created much more than a jazz club,” Starlight said. “Jimmy Mak’s was a cultural institution that put Portland on the map as a true music city.”
The program features one set each by iconic Portland jazz drummer Mel Brown’s hard-bop septet and his award-winning Hammond B-3 organ quintet, which will back well-known instrumentalists and vocalists who have played at the club over the past two decades, including Bobby Torres, Dan Balmer, LaRhonda Steele and Andy Stokes. A third set backed by The Yachtsmen will feature funk, R&B and rock performances by saxophonist Patrick Lamb, vocalists Jarrod Lawson, Paul Creighton and Moose E. Lee, and the Soul Vaccination Horns. Various jazz dignitaries will speak throughout the evening, and an after-party featuring the Chris Brown Quartet will take place in the Roseland’s ground-floor club, Peter’s Room, right after the concert concludes.
“Jimmy Mak’s was one of the only clubs in Portland music history to open its doors to minors for early shows,” Starlight said. “This provided an opportunity for middle-school and high-school kids to be exposed to world-class players and educators like Mel Brown, Alan Jones, Dan Balmer and Gordon Lee, providing an educational experience like no school in town.”
“Musical Inspiration: Honoring Jimmy Mak” is also sponsored by Young’s Market Company