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Apart from genuine jazz enthusiasts, these clubs also started attracting a lot of students from Kings College (now Newcastle University).
In 1957 steps were taken that would eventually lead to the opening of the Club A’Gogo.
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).
The club is probably best remembered for the few years between 19 when iconic British and American blues, rock and soul acts regularly appeared there; acts such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, the Rolling Stones, Spencer Davis, Wilson Picket and Ike & Tina Turner.Around the same time, he introduced Saturday afternoon record sessions for teenagers at the club.The Downbeat eventually succumbed to rock and blues music featuring local bands such as the Alan Price Combo (originally the Pagans), the Kylastrons and a Whitley Bay band called the Invaders, the first ‘non-Jazz’ band to play there.That year the man who founded the Gogo, Mike Jeffery, opened his first music venue – the University Jazz Club in the Cordwainers Hall above the Gardeners Arms on Nelson Street, Newcastle.Michael Frank Jeffery was a Londoner who, after a spell in the British army, came north to study at Kings College, Newcastle.
The club was only nominally linked to the university, with the profits going into Mike Jeffery’s pocket.