When I graduated from U.N.O. in 1977, and got hooked on jazz. Omaha drummer and educator, Luigi Waites, had been running a weekly session at the Howard Street Tavern in the Old Market for several years. Two names you should recognize that cut their "chops" at the Howard street are Dave Styrker( 25 albums so far) and Karin Allison (Blue Note recording artist). Luigi influenced tons of musicians many of who still play in and around the Omaha area and others who are based in larger cities. Check out the websites of Victor Lewis and Arno Lucas.
His rules were simple; house band plays first and last set. The middle set was a session; and the stage was open for "sitting in".
The fact that the Tuesday sessions lasted so long was due to several things. 1. Understanding club owner 2. Co-sponsor who helped pay the house quintet. 3. Consistent product.
Having run the Cathedral Arts Project ( CAP) Jazz Workshop for 30 years, I feel I can speak to many positive things I see at the 402's bi-weekly session.
1. Traditional straight ahead "tunes" are being "called". Some american standards but also lots of tunes made famous by Blue note artists like Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver and a host of others.
2. Nice diversity of age. Since the session is held next to a coffee shop, high school and middle school students are welcome. Adults who wished they learned jazz in their youth and seasoned pros also are appearing to pass on the tradition.
3. House rhythm section provides equipment and keeps the 'groove" consistent. Also the 402 has a stage with lights, house p.a. and sound man.
So come out and support this great tradition!
GUEST AUTHOR : ROBERT GLASER