You are here

Sunday's Meyer Concert Tributes Tim Ellis (Hood River News Article)

The following is an article by Kirby Neumann-Rea which appeared in the Hood River News on Wednesday, 11/30/16:

‘He had an incredible gift for helping other people’: Sunday’s Meyer concert tributes Tim Ellis

TIM Ellis uses his bald head to make a musical point in this July 2015 photo taken while teaching kids music along with Aaron Meyer in Hood River through Community Education. “We were a good team that was what he was all about: making things work, with quality,” Meyer said. “He loved musical education as much as I did. He loved challenging kids to be responsible musicians, learning about math and science through music.”

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea 
TIM Ellis uses his bald head to make a musical point in this July 2015 photo taken while teaching kids music along with Aaron Meyer in Hood River through Community Education. “We were a good team that was what he was all about: making things work, with quality,” Meyer said. “He loved musical education as much as I did. He loved challenging kids to be responsible musicians, learning about math and science through music.”

A concert Sunday honors one of Hood River’s true musical friends, the late Tim Ellis.

Violinist Aaron Meyer will dedicate Sunday’s annual holiday concert to guitarist Ellis, his long-time “musical sidekick,” arranger, and musical director.

“Tim was a world class producer, arranger, bandleader. He could do everything,” said Meyer of his friend of more than 20 years.

The seventh annual show, a benefit for Columbia Gorge United Way, is the first and biggest of Meyer’s holiday tour, and will be in its usual place, the Gorge Room at Best Western Plus Hood River Inn, Dec. 4. It is hosted by Gordy Sato, a United Way supporter and Parkdale orchardist.

BENEFIT SHOW

The concert starts at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 4. Get $20 tickets at Waucoma Bookstore,unitedw..., or call 541-386-6100. Preferred seating options are available.

Ellis, an arranger and producer extraordinaire, died at age 60 on March 21 of advanced melanoma. He was born in southern California and came to Oregon in 1984.

“He was one of the most influential musicians in Oregon, and he did more recording than anyone else, at a pace no one ever done,” Meyer said.

Sunday’s concert will include a version of the classic “Hallelujah,” by Leonard Cohen, who died this month.

“Tim loved doing the Hood River Christmas concert,” Meyer said. “What’s so nice about working with Gordy is he let us do what we do.

“Tim loved the camaraderie and partnership of everyone working together,” Meyer said. “We love Hood River because people are so friendly and supportive.”

This year’s concert will change things up slightly, with the addition of the gospel-singing Brown Sisters.

“We haven’t had many vocalists in the past, and they are absolutely fabulous, people are going to love them,” Meyer said.

The Cohen song was recorded this year on Meyer’s newest album, in honor of Ellis. “Tim still was alive when we did it, and we were able to Facetime with him so could see it; everyone who participated was a music colleague.” The album, recorded at Portland’s Kung Fu Bakery recording studio, features Meyer’s nine-piece band with horns, 10 string players, and a 40-person choir, and guest artists Pink Martini, all doing many of Ellis’ favorite songs.

Meyer said that Ellis’ top-notch Portland studio has been closed, but Ellis’ legacy will continue.

“He just took the level of my music to a whole different place,” Meyer said. “Before he came along, I was working in a home recording studio and writing music, but he took it to another level, and he had this unbelievable expertise, in 45 years of doing it. And his main gift, after playing the guitar, was making other peoples’ music outstanding. He was a top-notch producer, and a lot of us never understood why he never went to Los Angeles or New York, but he loved his life in Portland and had an incredible gift for helping other people develop their sound, and brand, and making them better than they would be on their own.

“Tim prepared us to do all this without him,” Meyer said. “Tim was a mentor, role model, and teacher.

“I miss him, but he’d want us to continue what we’re doing. He would very much encourage that. He would say the show must go on.”

Succeeding Ellis as Meyer’s musical director is Jean-Pierre Garau, who helped arrange “Hallelujah.”

“Jean-Pierre has been with Tim since 2008, and Tim put together a brand-new band for me in 2008,” Meyer said. “The only one not there has been Tim.

“When Tim was no longer able to work, Jean-Pierre stepped up to the role. Without him I’d be searching, it was a very natural transition for him to step in.”