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.
Unlike the New Orleans Club, it catered for dancers as well as those people who just wanted to listen to jazz.
Outside of Newcastle, he is probably best known as being the man who managed both the Animals and Jimi Hendrix in the sixties and early seventies.
Over the years Mike Jeffery’s reputation has become tarnished by allegations that he fleeced the artists he was managing and more recently by an unproven accusation that he murdered Jimi Hendrix.
The Club A’Gogo didn’t start its life as a venue for blues and rock bands.
Although it opened up in the early sixties when Rock and Roll was becoming popular in the UK, the first music played there was a rollover from the previous decade – jazz.
In 1957 steps were taken that would eventually lead to the opening of the Club A’Gogo.
During the mid sixties, Newcastle’s Club A’Gogo was one of the top music venues in the North East.
The ‘Gogo’ was to Newcastle what the Marquee club was to London.
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).
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ During the period that Mike Jeffery was running the Marimba Coffee House and the Downbeat club he formed a partnership with another Newcastle businessman named Ray Grehan, who at the time was the sales manager for a ticket machine company called Automaticket.