Happy birthday Laurindo Almeida!

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Laurindo Almeida (September 2, 1917 – July 26, 1995) was a Brazilian guitarist and composer. He is remembered as one of the most influential figures in Latin jazz fusion.

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Almeida with Ray Brown (source)

Almeida was born in Prainha, Brazil. He taught himself to play guitar at a young age. By the time he was a teenager, he moved to Rio de Janeiro to work in radio in addition to performing in nightclubs, including Casino da Urca and Rádio Mayrink Veiga. He also developed his career as a staff arranger and composer.

At 19, he made his way to Europe performing in a cruise ship orchestra. Once he arrived, he saw Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt perform, who would forever influence him as a guitarist.

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By 1947, Almeida was a well-known Spanish and popular guitarist. At the invitation of pianist and composer Stan Kenton, Almeida came to the United States to join his band. He stayed with Kenton's band until 1952, also working as a studio musician.

Almeida's early compositions garnered attention, especially "Brazilliance No. 1" and " Brazilliance No. 2." Almeida's style was marked by a distinctly "Latin" sound, and when applied to American jazz rhythms, produced the foundations of samba jazz and even anticipated the Bossa Nova craze.

 

Almeida began recording for films in 1949. Some films he contributed music to include Good-bye, My Lady (1956), Funny Girl (1968), and The Godfather (1972). He also wrote music for episodes of The Twilight Zone and The High Chaparral. He contributed on a total of over 800 movie soundtracks.

 

 

In 1954, he began recording a series of classical Spanish guitar albums with Capitol Records. One of the more notable of these recordings is Duets with Spanish Guitar, which won a Grammy.

During the 1960s, Almeida was a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet. He appeared on Collaboration (1964). It was during this decade that Almeida was at the height of his popularity, winning six Grammy awards for his work. Some important recordings include "The Spanish Guitars Of Laurindo Almeida," "Conversations With The Guitar," "Reverie For Spanish Guitars," and "Guitar From Ipanema."

 

 

The 1970s saw him reunite with one of his oldest collaborative partners, Bud Shank. They formed the L.A. Four with Ray Brown and Chuck Flores. Together, they toured internationally and recorded several albums including The Four Scores! (1974).

Toward the end of his life, Almeida recorded with many jazz greats, including Charlie Byrd, Baden Powell, Stan Getz and Herbie Mann.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Tuesday, 02 September 2014
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