The music scene has lost one of its great champions with the death, at the age of seventy-four, of Sandy Brown, proprietor of the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen.
By making the room next door to the main bar on Gallowgate available to promoters of all styles of music, Sandy turned premises that had been in his family since he was a young child into one of the great venues for musicians and audiences alike.
Its candle-lit atmosphere played host to numerous internationally renowned figures – the outstanding New York guitarist Mike Stern (in a group with French violinist Didier Lockwood), Venezuelan pianist Leo Blanco, and top British jazz duo Tina May & Brian Kellock are just three of this writer’s fondest “Lampie” memories – and provided a much valued platform for up and coming local players.
A quiet, thoughtful man, Sandy ensured that there was a suitable stage and power supply and saw to it that there was as little extraneous noise from the bar as possible during a performance. He could also be seen on occasion, standing smiling in approval of the talent that graced what appeared to be his home-from-home.
Organisations including Jazz at the Blue Lamp, Americana promoters Almost Blue Promotions and Hands up for Trad, who presented Sandy with a Landmark Award for services to folk and traditional in 2019, will feel Sandy’s passing with sore hearts while recognising the immense contribution he made to live music, not just in Aberdeen but in the wider music world too.