Two local venue owners say they are developing a downtown Portland space as a new home for jazz music in the city.
In January, the city’s long-running jazz club, Jimmy Mak’s, closed. That left local legends like Mel Brown without a home for weekly gigs.
Frank Faillace and Manish Patel own a number of bars and clubs between them, including Dante’s and Bar XV. They say the basement space of the Alder Avenue building they purchased in December, the Jack London Bar, is being renovated as a jazz club.
The owners asked the Soul’d Out Music Festival to manage bookings. The festival’s Nicholas Harris said it’s important for audiences and musicians to have a dependable space for jazz acts.
“We’re trying to incubate the next level of talent that will be playing on these stages 10-20 years from now,” Harris said, “ensuring we have a space for this type of music in Portland, moving forward.”
A fire broke out in the building in which the bar was located last month, displacing dozens of apartment-dwellers and causing water damage in the bar.
Harris said the necessary repairs will lengthen the time it takes to re-open the venue, now scheduled for early April. He says the club has already conducted walk-throughs with several musicians who were regulars at Jimmy Mak’s.
In addition to straight-ahead jazz, “picking up the baton” where Jimmy Mak’s left off as Harris put it, the club will book bands in more avant-garde styles and funk.
The last night of this year’s Soul’d Out festival will be a benefit show featuring many Jimmy Mak’s regulars. Proceeds will help pay for creation of a jazz scholarship at Portland State University, named after the late Jimmy Mak’s owner Jimmy Makarounis. He died of cancer just two days after the club was closed.