Jimmy Mak’s – The Legendary Showclub Returns

Jimmy Mak’s
The Legendary Showclub Returns
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.

Since 1996, Jimmy Mak’s has been one of the mainstays of the Portland jazz scene, providing a mellow environment, great food and a good room for music like Mel Brown, Thara Memory, Patrick Lamb, Dan Balmer and many others. Then there’s the under-21 jazz talent that show up for Brown’s all-ages Tuesday sessions where the student musicians got a chance to jam with, and learn from, the jazz veterans.

So, last summer when I first heard that Jimmy Mak’s was closing, my heart skipped a beat. “Oh No!! it’s one of the only jazz clubs left!” my mind screamed. But I let out a sigh of relief upon hearing that the club, which was voted one of the world’s top 100 jazz clubs by Down Beat magazine, was just moving across the street and would reopen a month later.

And reopen it did, featuring family’s Greek and Middle Eastern food at prices the average cat can afford, and the same great line up of resident bands The Dan Balmer Trio on Monday and various Mel Brown incarnations on Tuesday (septet), Wednesday (Quartet) and Thursday (B3 Organ).

Regular visitors to the new digs include Linda Hornbuckle, Javon Jackson, Jimmy Cobb and George Cables, to name a few. And when Trumpeter Thara Memory was brought on in a wheelchair last week after major surgery and played ambidextrously you could feel the same old love in the room that had been around for years. Jimmy Mak’s was back.