Many in Portland’s music community are in mourning, with the passing Monday night of their friend and mentor Tim Ellis, beloved musician and music producer. As his friend and musical partner violinist Aaron Meyer put it, “Tim was a world class teacher, guitarist, musician, arranger, composer, band leader, studio owner, music producer, friend, father, and husband to his beautiful wife Susan.”

Funeral arrangements are pending for Ellis, who died at 60 of advanced melanoma, a skin cancer.

Tim’s friend and cancer specialist Dr. Norm Willis told KGW his death is a reminder to us all to take care of our skin, and avoid sunburn. “And fair skinned, red heads, blonds, blue eyed people are more susceptible to the bad sunburns and more susceptible to melanomas than others,” Dr. Willis said.

Here’s a link to the full report by Pat Dooris.

As you may know, Portland Radio Project recently broadcast the extraordinary Tim Ellis Birthday Concert, recorded Monday February 15, 2016, at Revolution Hall, featuring a star-studded sequence of performances by many of Portland’s top musicians. Here, we have posted the concert as a series of podcasts, beginning with a brief introduction by singer/songwriter Michele Van Kleef and PRP founder Rebecca Webb.

In Part 1, Ellis’s friend and longtime musical partner, Concert Rock Violinist Aaron Meyer welcomes more than 800 people to the concert, and introduces several performances. In this section:

  1. A string ensemble of Oregon Symphony players, organized by Associate Concert Master Peter Frajola
  2. Ellis’s son Tom, with a video tribute to his dad
  3. Saxophonist Patrick Lamb, accompanied by pianist Jean-Pierre Garau – featuring the Brown Sisters
  4. Happy Birthday video from Kevin Rankin and Dan Pred

Part 2:

  1. Pianist Tom Grant with Dave Captein
  2. Pianist Michael Allen Harrison with Tim Ellis, Phil Baker, Israel Annoh and Brian Davis
  3. Ellis introduces his family
  4. Singer Steve Hale with Tim Ellis, Mark Shulman, and Phil Baker

Part 3:

  1. Vocalist Michele Van Kleef, with Tim Ellis and pianist Jean-Pierre Garau
  2. Tim Ellis and Aaron Meyer Band, with Carl Smith, Pink Martini’s Brian Davis, Jamin Swenson, Jean-Pierre Garau, Tim Jensen and Lars Campbell
  3. Tim’s five daughters introduce themselves

Part 4:

  1. Video from Craig Carothers
  2. Art Alexakis of Everclear

Part 5:

  1. Pink Martini, with China Forbes
  2. Stephanie Schneiderman and John Nilsen leading Happy Birthday song

“People stepped up in a huge way to make this all come together,” said Ellis’s friend and longtime musical partner, Concert Rock Violinist Aaron Meyer, who organized the sold-out Birthday Concert event in under three weeks, after learning of Ellis’s melanoma diagnosis.

With help from Rachel Mortensen and countless volunteers, Portland’s legendary music community came together to support Ellis, who has become a local institution. He has performed with nearly every prominent musician in the region, along with many more nationwide and in several countries. His Kung Fu Bakery studio is home base to many recording artists, including Pink Martini.

Together, an online auction, crowd-funding campaign and Birthday Concert have raised nearly $200,000 to help pay medical expenses.

For more on the concert, and interviews with Ellis’s friends and family, go to our recent article.


Rebecca Webb
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