By INESSA // He passed from cancer. Listen to an interview with him and Michele Van Kleef
Tim Ellis, a beloved Portland musician and legendary proprietor of Kung Fu Bakery recording studio died Monday, March 21 from an advanced case of melanoma, a cancer. He was diagnosed in December 2015.
On February 15, on his 60th birthday, a grateful group of musical colleagues and admirers threw a benefit concert for him at Revolution Hall. Thomas Lauderdale & members of Pink Martini, Art Alexakis from Everclear, Tom Grant, Michael Allen Harrison, Patrick Lamb, Michele Van Kleef, The Aaron Meyer Band, members of the Oregon Symphony performed. Listen to the concert, broadcast by Portland Radio Project here.
I first met and heard Tim Ellis when he and Craig Carothers played a set together when Craig was still in Portland, and not yet in Nashville.
Tim. He had as Aaron Meyer said recently, “ a profound effect ..in the lives of others”. Not all of us have that sort of bragging right. Though, Tim would have never bragged about it. It was simply who he was. He worked closely with some of our dearest favorites, from Pink Martini to very close friend, and musical cohort Michele Van Kleef.
Although Division Street is falling prey to gentrification, for so many years that precious corner on 36th and Division has been home to some incredible and creative tomfoolery.
As described on the Kung Fu site:
“On a cozy commercial strip in Portland, Ore.’s southeast quadrant lies a nondescript brick building that houses two storefronts. Walk around the corner, however, and you’ll find the entrance to one of the city’s most well-appointed studios, Kung Fu Bakery.”
Three years ago, when Michele was just beginning to work on her new project, I drifted over to Kung Fu to talk to both Tim and Michele about the process, and how they work it together. I am certain that all of it will remain in our hearts. How Tim worked it for all of us. A rich and compassionate and artistic legacy.