Jimmy says it all happened “almost accidentally”. The club, the success he had with it in our community. Thanks in part to inspiration his dad offered Jimmy. And the inspiration, in turn, Jimmy offered to musicians in Portland. Full circle. His passion and open heart will continue to live in OUR hearts.
As you will hear in our conversation in the below video, Jimmy Makarounis thought of music as a language. It always seemed to “feel to be part of me”, he told me. Jimmy says his dad was a big inspiration for him. He watched as his parents opened taverns and businesses while he was growing up. Jimmy felt he had to go “all in”, as he puts it, if he were to do anything. That is the passion and commitment , that was a hallmark of Jimmy. He wanted to be the one to make all the final decisions at and for Jimmy Mak’s. Seemed easy enough to do something like that in what he called a “fertile music town”.
Musicians appreciated his commitment to them. He provided a stage and opportunity for so many up- and-coming artists. So sweet to hear Jimmy describe that first act to hit the club’s stage nearly 20 years ago. It was Patrick Lamb, a “snotty-nosed kid”, as Jimmy described him. The musicians who worked with him, and who got their first opportunities, tell it best. Link to all the many comments on his Facebook page. That is where you can follow along to hear about memorial services and more.
Thanks to Robert Parish for the video piece below. I spoke with Jimmy in May of 2014, when we were honoring a new group of young musicians with scholarships for their deeper study, courtesy of Oregon Music Hall of Fame. As you will hear, Jimmy, as a young child, was a young student himself, first of the sax. But eventually, he found his way to supporting the language he loved in a very different way and with a vision, courtesy of his father. It happened, almost accidentally. At the time of our conversation, Jimmy already was dealing with his illness, as you will hear in his voice. But Jimmy’s ability to share his passion is not obstructed by any kind of illness.