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Luigi Waites

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Information about Luigi Waites

Profile image of Luigi Waites

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Instructor
Jazz Drummer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/10/1927
Birth Location:
Omaha, Nebraska

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Instructor
Jazz Drummer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/10/1927
Birth Location:
Omaha
See how Luigi Waites is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Percussionist Luigi Waites was born Lewis Waites, on July 10, 1927, in Omaha, Nebraska. Waites’ mother, Ione Lewis, married his stepfather, Grant Wallace, after Wallace’s arrival in Omaha in the 1940s. Waites attended Omaha’s Lake Elementary, Central High School and graduated from Technical High School. He also attended the Midwestern Conservatory of Music. Waites began performing music while he was still in high school. At the onset of World War II, more Americans enlisted into the U.S. military, and Waites was limited to playing with musicians his own age. Dropping out of Omaha Technical High School, Waites was drafted in 1945. While in the services, Waites was taught to play drum licks by the great Elvin Jones at Camp Lee, Virginia. It was not until the end of the war that Waites began touring locally with adult musicians.

In 1947, Waites returned to Omaha and continued his career as a local musician. In addition, Waites toured regionally, performing in Iowa, North Dakota, Kansas and other parts of Nebraska. After briefly attending school in California in 1949, Waites enrolled at the Midwestern Conservatory of Music in downtown Chicago; that following year, he married Eva Jean Little. In the 1950s, Waites continued his career in music, but also worked daily at local factories. After working as stock personnel for the Omaha National Bank, Waites began teaching private lessons to aspiring artists. In the 1960s and 1970s, Waites was the organizer of a youth group called the Contemporaries which performed as a marching band for local and regional events.

Waites was the first jazz instructor in the Omaha Public Schools and at Creighton University. Waites also helped found Phyllis Hicks’s “Steppin Saints.” Waites was named Nebraska Arts Council’s Artist of the Year in 1996; he is still playing and teaching, while enjoying his eighties. Waites, who toured internationally and performed in Europe during the 1990s, lived in Omaha, Nebraska and had six grown children.

Waites passed away on April 6, 2010 at the age of 82.

Luigi Waites was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 7, 2007.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Luigi Waites' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Luigi Waites lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Luigi Waites describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Luigi Waites describes his mother's profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Luigi Waites talks about his father and stepfathers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Luigi Waites describes his mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Luigi Waites describes his living arrangements in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Luigi Waites describes the sights and smells of his childhood in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Luigi Waites remembers listening to the radio as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Luigi Waites describes his early personality and interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Luigi Waites talks about his early musical interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Luigi Waites describes his favorite radio programs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Luigi Waites remembers Count Basie and Duke Ellington
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Luigi Waites talks about his grade school experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Luigi Waites recalls the encouragement of his teacher
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Luigi Waites recalls learning to be a musician
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Luigi Waites remembers his mentor, Basie Givens
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Luigi Waites describes his high school experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Luigi Waites remembers World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Luigi Waites describes his experiences at Technical High School in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Luigi Waites recalls being drafted at the end of World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Luigi Waites describes his experiences in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Luigi Waites remembers his studies at the Midwestern Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Luigi Waites remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Luigi Waites recalls his early life lessons about music
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Luigi Waites describes his various jobs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Luigi Waites recalls performing at night while working at the First National Bank of Omaha
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Luigi Waites describes the segregated nightclubs in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Luigi Waites remembers Cliff Dudley
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Luigi Waites recalls becoming a drum company spokesman
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Luigi Waites recalls meeting Elvin Jones
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Luigi Waites recalls meeting Roy Haynes and Max Roach
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Luigi Waites describes The Contemporaries drum corps
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Luigi Waites talks about his busy schedule
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Luigi Waites recalls his instructional assemblies at schools across the United States
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Luigi Waites talks about his teaching career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Luigi Waites recalls meeting notable jazz musicians
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Luigi Waites describes the M&M lounge in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Luigi Waites talks about skin color discrimination in the black community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Luigi Waites talks about racial discrimination in the music industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Luigi Waites talks about his awards
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Luigi Waites reflects upon his music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Luigi Waites talks about his interest in various percussion instruments
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Luigi Waites describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Luigi Waites reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Luigi Waites reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Luigi Waites talks about his family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Luigi Waites remembers sharing his success with his mother
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Luigi Waites describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Luigi Waites narrates his photographs