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In 1959 Mike Jeffery opened the Marimba Coffee Bar on High Bridge, Newcastle (near its junction with Grey Street).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.

Jeffery and Graham set up several limited companies for the purpose of running their three establishments – The Downbeat, Marimba and the El Toro (a club they had opened in 1961 above the Marimba).

In the latter half of 1961 Mike Jeffery and Ray Grehan had plans to open a larger, more prestigious club in Newcastle and had gone ahead and purchased a site above the Handyside Arcade on Percy Street.

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.

Unofficially, the jazz sessions at the Marimba continued long after midnight.

In March 1960 Jeffery opened a larger licensed jazz venue in Carliol Square called the Downbeat Club, which started to attract a more fashionable clientele that that of the New Orleans.

The Club A’Gogo has become an important part of Newcastle’s musical heritage.

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.

There are, of course, many references to the Animals being the resident band at the club in the early sixties.

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