This is sad: Jack Earl “Piano Jack” Myllymaki, the man who pounded the keys at the Highwood Bar, has passed away at the too-early age of 57. The Trib did a feature on Piano Jack not too long ago, highlighting his love of piano playing, his roots in Great Falls and Belt, and other quirks about this unique man.
If you’ve never been to the Highwood Bar – located sorta between Belt and Ft Benton – then you are truly missing out on what I think is the best steak that I’ve ever had anywhere.
Part of the charm of the Highwood Bar was, of course, the piano-playing of Jack – hunched over the keyboard, wearing his hat, and pounding out all sorts of tunes. And I do mean pounding – he was so enthusiastic in his playing that sometimes you had to nearly yell to talk with someone sitting right next to you. And I mean that in a good way. Here’s Piano Jack, doing what he did so well:
Jack, thanks for being part of a unique experience. You will be missed. My condolences to the family, friends, co-workers, and admirers of Jack’s music.
UPDATE: The Trib has a “Jack Page” with a few of his tunes, and also posted information about where you can purchase Jack’s CDs:
-The Highwood Bar, 733-2951
-Harvest Moon Saloon, Belt, 277-3833
-The Black Diamond Bar and Supper Club, Belt, 277-4118
-Music Mart, 615 Central Ave.
-C.M. Russell Museum, 400 13th St. N., 727-8787
UPDATE: found a short video clip of Jack playing the piano:
I think this clip is from a performance that Jack gave at the Great Falls Public Library.