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The club was only nominally linked to the university, with the profits going into Mike Jeffery’s pocket.
Unlike the New Orleans Club, it catered for dancers as well as those people who just wanted to listen to jazz.
The Club A’Gogo was situated on the second (top) floor of the Handyside Arcade building on Percy Street in Newcastle’s Haymarket area.
In the early part of the 20th century the floor occupied by the Club A’Gogo had been a dental hospital.
By day it served Italian food and snacks but between 8 and 12 on a night time it became a private membership club with jazz being served up by some of the best musicians around such as the Emcee 4, Tommy Henderson’s Latin American Group and the Bernie Thorpe Trio.
There are, of course, many references to the Animals being the resident band at the club in the early sixties.
The Animals also recorded a live album at the Gogo and even wrote a song about the place.
In spite of dwindling audiences at the New Orleans and at the Downbeat on jazz nights, there were still plenty of traditional (trad) jazz bands and modern jazz combos doing the rounds in the north east. For instance, in 1961 there were three jazz performers in the top 20 all at the same time – (Dave Brubeck, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk).
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ In 1962, probably partly from the proceeds of an insurance pay off from a fire at the Marimba, Mike Jeffery opened the Club A’Gogo in collaboration with another local businessman/entrepreneur called Ray Grehan who, at the time was the sales manager for a company named Automaticket.
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_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ From the mid 50s, Newcastle had enjoyed a very lively jazz scene.