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Monday, May 07, 2012

R.I.P. Mighty Joe Young

I've just received the sad news that John Young - better known as guitarist.bassist Mighty Joe Young has passed away aged 80.
Joe had suffered from Dementia for a number of years and recently was suspected of having a trace of lung cancer.
I first encountered Joe at the New Orleans Jazz Club in Newcastle where he led one of the area's first modern jazz groups. Colleagues included pianist Bill Harper, saxist Jeff Hedley, trumpet player John Walters, drummers Ian Forbes and Jacky Denton to name but a few.
He later crossed the stylistic divide playing with the Vieux Carré Jazzmen on double bass.
Bill Harper wrote a lovely piece last year on Joe which I've linked to here.
Our thoughts are with his dear wife Diane.
Sadly missed.
Lance.
PS: Funeral arrangements will be announced when known.

9 comments :

alfstone said...

How sad I was to read the news of Joe's demise. Like many others I spent most of my Wednesday and Saturday nights in the bowels of the Hawthorn imbibing Brown Ale and watching Joe and the band during my youth. I met my wife-to-be at the club but I never held that against the place. Joe was a nice guy and his band were inspirational for us youngsters. RIP Joe.

Steve Andrews said...

Very sorry to hear about Joe. It may be a cliche to say so, but he was a really nice man, and will be remembered fondly by everyone he played with and for.

Roly Veitch said...

Sad news. I've fond memories of those New Orleans Jazz Club sessions with Jeff Hedley, Bill Harper and Co. - my first encounter with 'modern' jazz. We got to know each other later and he would always have time for a chat, words of encouragement, etc. In recent years it was always lovely to see Joe and Diane at Darlington Jazz Club and other gigs down in that locality. One of life's true gentlemen.
Roly

Colin Aitchison said...

Sorry to hear the news, I remember as a young kid, Joe coming around to the house in Wallsend, as Dad, was one of the trumpet players who played with his Mainstream band for a while, and used to have a good chat about the days at Melbourne Street, but I was too young to remember much about it, shame, would have loved to have heard the band in those days...a great loss...
Colin Aitchison
(Hong Kong)

Brian Bennett said...

Great memories of The Mighty Joe Young Band at The New Orleans Jazz Club - usually on a Saturday which was 'Modern Night'
Joe always sat in front and in the middle of the band and played a small, acoustic guitar which, if my memory serves me well, was never amplified or mike'd up. I used to inch closer to the band to try to hear Joe's guitar but sadly, I never did. Was that Jackie Denton on drums behind Joe?
Mighty Joe Young - a Tyneside legend, a truly great guy, and someone that I'm proud to have played with on many occasions.

Bruce Goodwin said...

I worked with 'Joe' at the Tech on Bath Lane.Already a jazz fan, Joe and his band turned me on to Mainstream and then Be-Bop.Until I moved south to Manchester I was nearly always to be found at Melbourne St. on a Sat. night. Leo the Tenor player gave me the urge to play and I later played tenor in a blues band for many years round South Lancs and North Manchester.So Joe started it! A really nice guy and I enjoyed his company at work, socially and of course his band. A sad loss but good memories.

Gordon Solomon. said...

I first heard the Mighty Joe Young Band in the original New Orleans Club in Melbourne Street in 1960. His Saturday night sessions there were always packed and became a focal point for local musicians interested in Mainstream/Modern jazz. I remember Jeff Hedley, John Walters, Bill Harper and Jackie Denton as band members, -all top players. After his band disbanded Joe switched from guitar to double bass and reverted to playing New Orleans jazz,- I remember many happy sessions at the Crowley pub in Swalwell with Joe, the Rae Bros, Ronnie Robinson and Derek Cogger. I also recall Joe's sense of humour,- on one occasion mid-way through a number Joe's bridge collapsed with a resounding thwack which made people at the back of the room jump. As we all turned round and looked at Joe he calmly said "Keep playing, pretend that nothing's happened!". Joe will be sadly missed by many people.

Anonymous said...

my condolences for the delay in response. Yet his spirit lives high.

Anonymous said...

Nearly eighty-five years old and retired to the Cotswolds, I have only just read of Joe Young's demise. We first met at the Newcastle Jazz Club above a pub, I think in Melbourne Street. It was through Joe and my correspondence with him when I was in BAOR that I first met one of his Laboratory work colleagues. Sheila and I later married. Joe was unable to be 'Best Man'. Sheila and me have now spent 61 years together since leaving Newcastle in 1956. I played Bb Tenor slide trambone with Joe from about 1953 onwards after National Service. This includes regular rehearsals on Sunday morning in the Arcade (Pilgrim Street?) local Jazz Clubs, the Uni Refectory, back of Rag Week lorries, Working men's clubs and numerous unpaid gigs! We went to London on several occasions and regularly four of us - Sheila, me Joe and Pat Burney (now deceased)would take the United Buses or borrow cars to picnic in Co. Durham and Northumberland. He was an intelligent young man, well read and I think capable of rising above his chosen occupation. But his enthusiasm was for music and not work! He introduced me to the classics and sci-fi and we had good fun visiting the News Theatre in Northumberland Street weekly - as well as any interesting musical events and newly-opened 'Gents'! The last time I met and played Guitar with Joe and his outfit was in the 1960's above a pub somewhere in Byker. I read that he probably had a touch of lung cancer. From when I first knew him he was a chain smoker with nicotine stained fingers and moustache. I have no doubt that's what carried him off to the big jazz club in the sky. I regret not having kept in touch and met his wives. Sadly missed by myself and my wife. RIP Mighty Joe. From George Heaviside

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