Portland Jazz

“We had Nora Jones here one night. She sat right there to eat her dinner!”
Apparently this stage has hosted some of the greats. We had no idea, but I’m so glad we caught the last hour of some incredible tunes.

Jimmy Mak’s is a bar that locals recommended for its great food, drinks and music. We are always a fan of live music, and we were not disappointed. When we found out that this is the last week they’re open, the evening became even more special.

Jazz is something my dad taught me to appreciate. He’d play Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck until my mom begged him to stop. It’s because of his excitement over a skilled solo or smooth transition that I was able to recognize when and why the audience applauded the band tonight.

Although it’s not the genre I would select on Spotify when I’m by myself, I do love jazz. It’s the kind of music that demands passion, of its players as well as its listeners.  It’s almost intoxicating to see the response of the crowd to the singing sax and smashing drums. We’re sitting only a few feet away from the band (yes, my ears had a nice ring to them after an hour), so I can observe up close how each player gets beautifully lost in the music. The audience around our table is drowning in the tunes too. Most of them are grey-haired retired folks with black-rimmed glasses who are listening with closed eyes and tapping feet. We’re by far the youngest ones here, and seemingly the only ones who are not regular Jimmy Mak’s guests. My Zinfandel helps shake off the feeling of being out of place and soon we are all enjoying being part of a true Portland experience.

Watching people love something passionately is such a good reminder to enjoy life unapologetically.

For other Portland recommendations, check out this Portland Guide.

Adventure is easier than you think. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars or fly for hours to have those vacation vibes. There’s easy-accessibly beauty you can enjoy by traveling local. It’s all about collecting stories, exploring new places and going on adventures that shake you out of Autopilot Living.

 In the Weekend Trip series, I share recommendations, travel tips and stories to inspire you to plan your next adventure. Every featured location is in the North California/Oregon area and  every recommendation keeps in mind that we want to keep travel affordable.

Currently featured: Eureka, Portland. Coming up: Sacramento.


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  1. No they’re closed because Jimmy had cancer. He died this week.


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