Andy LoDuca - Biography
Andy LoDuca is an American jazz drummer, world class percussionist, keyboardist, composer and graphic artist. Born February 1, 1947, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he is the son of Thomas S. and Santa M. LoDuca. At the age of eight years old he began accordion lessons at his father's music store, LoDuca Bros. Music Company in Milwaukee. His father, and his Uncle Guy, both musicians, were insturmental in guiding LoDuca into a life of music.
At ten years of age his formative drum instructions began with weekly private lessons from retired Chicago Symphony percussionist, Herman Menier. After two years with Menier studying basic rudiments and orchestral percussion, he went on to study with Milwaukee's permiere show drummer, Roy Schneider. His tenure with Schneider would last nine years. It was during that time that LoDuca had an unanticipated and memorable drum lesson. A private lesson with Gene Krupa, "the father of modern swing-jazz drumming," was arranged by his Uncle at the music store where Krupa had given a Saturday morning drum clinic. That encounter significantly influenced LoDuca's relationship with music. It also motivated him to practice. By his late teens LoDuca began studying with legendary jazz drummer, Joe Morello.
At the age of twenty five LoDuca made a spiritual pilgrimage to the Far East. He traveled to the city of Rishikish, in Northern India, situated at the foothills of the Himalayas. There, he studied music and yoga at the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy. LoDuca had private tabla instructions from Dr. M. Mishra. The lessons took place in a small white tent on the shores of the Ganges River. LoDuca was a devotee of H.H. Swami Rama.
Andy LoDuca is a graduate of Spencerian College where he earned a B.B.A. (Bachelor of Business Administration) degree in marketing. He served for two years as Editor-In-Chief of the Spencerian Intercom, the official newspaper of the school. Upon graduation, LoDuca was accepted into the United States Peace Corps. His training began at the Peace Corps Central American Training Center in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica primarily working out of the U.S. embassy in San Jose.
LoDuca believes that his opportunities to travel have been among his greatest influences. Besides touring throughout the United States, his travels have included Canada, Mexico, The U.S. Virgin Islands, Panama, England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Portual, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
Andy LoDuca's music career has extended over fifty years. Among his many professional credits are multiple performances with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Milwaukee Children's Choir, The Milwaukee Repertory Theater and The Milwaukee Tango Ensemble. It is, however, LoDuca's jazz drumming style that placed him on stage with some of America's greatest jazz musicians. These include performances with Mose Allison, Buddy Montgonery, Monk Montgomery, Melvin Rhyne, Paul Horn, Percy Heath, Leroy Vinegar, Rufus Reid, George Cables, Joe Sample, Ike Cole, Frank D'Rone, Eddie Higgins, Paul Keller, Chuck Hedges, Kenny Drew Jr., as well as pop star, Kenny Loggins and spiritual chanter, Krishna Das. As a member of the Mose Allison Trio, LoDuca twice opened up concerts for Van Morrison in Chicago. As a member of the Milwaukee Area Technical College Faculty Jazz Band he opened up for Woody Herman's Band. It was Woody Herman's last home town performance.
As an educator, Andy LoDuca taught music privately as well as in the elementary and high school classrooms of the Milwaukee Public School System. For three years LoDuca was part of the "Young Audience Concert" series sponsored by the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. He also taught percussion at the Milwaukee Area Technical College to paroled Wisconsin prisoners as a part of a halfway house program sponsored by the State of Wisconsin, and directed by Buddy Montgomery.
In the late 1980's, LoDuca developed and taught a course entitled "Creative Arts," at Kettle Moraine Hospital Halfway House in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. It was designed to introduce music, visual arts and creative writing to adolescents as part of a rehabilitation program.
In addition to a career in music, LoDuca has served as a partner and art director at LoDuca Bros. Inc. for over thirty years. The family's business expanded from retail music to importing musical instruments and accessories from Europe, Canada and Asia. Some of the LoDuca Bros. mass merchandiser accounts include Best Buy, Target, J.C. Penney and Radio Shack.
The family business further diversified into the importation of fine Italian wines and edible oils for sale and distribution in the United States. As a graphic artist LoDuca produces both commercial and fine art. His commercial works include book illustrations, book covers, record and CD cover designs, toy designs, food packaging, musical instrument product package designs and website design. LoDuca's most prolific art work is in the area of wine labels of which he has designed more than one hundred.
Today, LoDuca continues to perform at concerts and music festivals regularly with guitarist Dennis Schwulst as well as with his own band, The Andy LoDuca World Jazz Band. LoDuca now writes and records original music in collaboration with Schwulst. These compositions along with his art are featured on this website, Natural Path Music. Andy LoDuca's home studio is located in the Kettle Moraine Forest of Southeastern Wisconsin.