Thursday, February 12, 2009


Laurindo Almeida (September 2, 1917, São Paulo, Brazil–July 26, 1995, Van Nuys, California) was a Brazilian classical guitarist.

Prior to being invited to the United States in 1947 by Stan Kenton, Laurindo Almeida played guitar in Rio de Janeiro where he was known for his classical Spanish guitar playing. He joined Kenton's band during the height of its success in the 1940s, then was employed as a studio musician. In 1953 he recorded, with Bud Shank, two albums called Brazilliance for the World Pacific label. He also recorded with Baden Powell, Stan Getz and Herbie Mann, among others, and recorded for film and television.

From 1974 through 1982 he was a member of the chamber Jazz group The L.A. Four. It was during the 1960s when he enjoyed his greatest recognition, winning several Grammy Awards for his work. In 1961, he won Grammy Awards for Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Chamber Music Performance. The following year he won Grammy Awards for Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist or Duo and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

In 1965 he won Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance - Large Group or Soloist with Large Group.

He died on July 26th 1995, aged 77.


Collaboration (with The Modern Jazz Quarter)
Brazilliance (vol. 1)
Brazilliance (vol. 2)
Happy Cha Cha Cha
Viva Bossa Nova!
Ole! Bossa Nova
Broadway Solo Guitar
Guitar From Ipanema
Stan Getz with Guest Artist Laurindo Almeida Polygram Int'l B0000046V9
Laurindo Almeida's San Fernando Guitars: New Broadway-Hollywood Hits
A Man and a Woman
The Look of Love
Conversations With the Guitar Capitol SP8532
Reverie for Spanish Guitars Capitol P8571
Acapulco '22
Duets with the Spanish Guitar Capitol P8406
The Spanish Guitars of Laurindo Almeida
For My True Love Capitol SP8461
Impressoes do Brasil Capitol P8381
Danzas! Capitol P8467
Contemporary Creations for Spanish Guitar Capitol P8447
The New World of the Guitar Capitol 8392
Guitar Music of Latin America Capitol P8321
The Guitar Worlds of Laurindo Almeida Capitol SP8546
Jazz From A to B Unique Jazz UNQ1049
Brazilian soul (duo with Charlie Byrd)1981-1983
Latin Odyssey (with Charlie Byrd)1981-1983
Bachground Blues & Greens (with Ray Brown) Century City 80102
Classical Current Warner Bros.-Seven Arts WS 1803


Laurindo Almeida was born on September 2, 1917, Sao Paulo, Brazil, A fluent and skilled musician, famous in his native country as a classical Spanish guitar player, Almeida came to the USA in the 40s to work in film and television studios(he composed music for over 800 movies & TV series and recorded numerous LPs and CDs). His jazz work was first widely exposed during a spell with Stan Kenton in the late 40s. Although continuing his film and television work, Almeida also took many opportunities to play jazz, joining forces with bassist Harry Babasin, altoist Bud Shank and drummer Roy Harte in 1953. The work of this group anticipated many of the hallmarks of the bossa nova craze which came a few years later.

In 1974 Almeida gained further appreciation when he was teamed with bassist Ray Brown, drummer Chuck Flores and Shank to form the La Four. Records by this group, with Flores replaced successively by Shelly Manne and Jeff Hamilton, and later teamings with Shank in duo performances and with fellow guitarists Larry Coryell and Charlie Byrd, show Almeida to have lost none of the distinctive style that sets his work apart from the mainstream of jazz guitar. His career has been celebrated by winning among others grammy awards in 1959 for his performance on Danzas, in 1960 for The Spanish Guitars Of Laurindo Almeida and Conversations With The Guitar. The following year he gained two more with Discantos and Reverie For Spanish Guitars and in 1962 further honours with nominations with Viva Bossa Nova! in the Best Performance By An Orchestra For Dancing and Best Jazz Performance categories and a third nomination with The Intimate Bach (Best Classical performance). In 1964 the album Guitar From Ipanema won the grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, in 1972 he was nominated for the Best Soloist award with The Art Of Laurindo Almeida. He died July 26th 1995 in Van Nuys, California, USA.


Laurindo Almeida Biography

During a long and uncommonly productive career, Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida achieved a ubiquity in popular music that has yet to be fully recognized. Largely responsible for the Brazilian/North American "samba jazz" that would eventually catch on in the form of a musical trend known as bossa nova, he played behind dozens of well-known pop vocalists and improved the overall texture of many a studio production ensemble. One credible estimate states that Almeida contributed to no less than 800 film soundtracks (among them The Old Man and the Sea, How the West Was Won, and Breakfast at Tiffany's), as well as countless TV scores. He also authored a series of guitar instruction books that are still in use worldwide. A master improviser and a skilled arranger as well as a brilliant interpreter of classical repertoire, he left for posterity superb recordings of works by J.S. Bach, Fryderyk Chopin, Claude Debussy, and Joaquín Rodrigo as well as a host of Brazilian composers including Heitor Villa-Lobos, Radamés Gnattali, and Alfredo Vianna. Almeida's own chamber compositions include a concerto for guitar and orchestra. 

Laurindo Jose de Araujo Almeida Nobrega Neto was born in the village of Prainha near the Port of Santos in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, on September 2, 1917. He received his first musical instruction from his mother, a classically trained pianist, and credited her fondness for the music of Fryderyk Chopin as a primary influence. After observing his sister being given guitar lessons, "Lindo" borrowed her instrument and retreated to a barn where he taught himself to play entirely by ear, transferring what he'd heard his mother play on the piano to the strings of the guitar. Many years later he would declare his preference for the direct intimacy of the guitar as opposed to the more percussive piano. By the age of nine he had become uncommonly skilled and was well on the way to becoming a guitar virtuoso; it was then that he lost his father to typhoid fever. At 12 he relocated to São Paulo with his brother. He joined the Revolutionary Army at 15 and was wounded in a civil conflagration. While recuperating in a hospital he met Garoto, a nationally respected guitarist who was visiting to perform for the patients. Within a few years, Almeida would perform and record extensively with Garoto. 

In 1935 Almeida moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he teamed up with singer and tenor guitarist Nestor Amaral and began working in radio while becoming active as a songwriter, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist and performing regularly at the Casino da Urea. He composed folk songs, fox trots, sambas, choros, waltzes, and comedic airs, and worked with a broad range of artists including choro master Pixinguinha. He also collected 78-rpm jazz records, and was especially fond of the way Fats Waller played the piano. In 1936, at the age of 19, he got a job (playing banjo for the most part so as to be heard) for half a year on the Cuyaba, a cruise ship that docked in every country along the coast of Europe from Spain to Germany. While visiting Paris he was able to hear Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli in person. In 1941 he played the Casino Copacabana, and switched over to the Casino Balneario da Urca the following year. It was there that he met a Portuguese ballerina named Natalia (Maria Miguelina Ferreira Ribeiro) in 1944 and married her shortly afterwards. 

After touring north with Carmen Miranda, Laurindo Almeida moved to Los Angeles in 1947, and was able to do so because of royalties received from the sale of his tune "Johnny Pedlar," made famous as "Johnny Peddler" by popular acts like Jimmy Dorsey, Les Brown, and the Andrews Sisters. He performed in Laguna Beach with Nestor Amaral, José Oliveira, and violinist Elisabeth Waldo and appeared in a variety show with vocalist Dennis Day and comedians Victor Borge and Red Skelton, and in movies with Jimmy Durante and Danny Kaye. What made Almeida so different from anyone else on the scene at the time was his practice of using only his fingers on the guitar strings; everybody else used picks. When asked who his favorite guitarists were, he gave an answer that was emblematic of his entire career: classical virtuoso Andrés Segovia and Oscar Moore of the King Cole Trio. Almeida's film production work brought him to the attention of bandleader Stan Kenton, who hired and featured him while absorbing stylistic elements of the northeast Brazilian baiao, the samba, and the choro. Kenton eventually composed "Lament" especially for the guitarist. Almeida's direct involvement with Kenton's orchestra lasted until 1952. His first album as a solo artist, Concert Creations for Guitar, was released in 1950 by Kenton's host label, Capitol. 

Just as Machito, Dizzy Gillespie, and Chano Pozo had enlivened the scene with their Afro-Cuban jazz during the late '40s, Laurindo Almeida's session work during his first decade in the U.S. pollinated the modern jazz scene with rhythms and melodies from Brazil. During the years 1953-1958, he recorded several jazz samba albums with saxophonist Bud Shank that have since come to be regarded as precursors of the bossa nova trend of the late '50s and early '60s. In addition to steady session work with vocalists like June Christy, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Robert Mitchum, Connie Russell, Frank Sinatra, Martha Tilton, Mel Tormé, Kitty White, and vocal groups like the Four Freshmen, the Hi-Lo's, and the Platters, Almeida collaborated with bandleader Ray Anthony, pianist George Shearing, multi-instrumentalist Herbie Mann, space age pop music's Juan Garcia Esquivel, Kenton's right-hand man Pete Rugolo, and Hollywood's master of movie music Henry Mancini. 

Between 1960 and 1967 Almeida put out no less than nine pop-oriented albums for Capitol; these were in addition to at least as many "classical" titles for that label. When the bossa nova craze really set in, Almeida brought an authentic Brazilian presence to records by Stan Getz, Shorty Rogers, and Cal Tjader; he also assisted with a Harry Belafonte Christmas LP and cut an album with the Modern Jazz Quartet, touring with them throughout all of Europe. While continuing to work with Mancini, he practiced anonymity as a member of Guitars Unlimited and the 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett, sat in with bandleader Gerald Wilson, backed Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., and shared a session with trumpeter Rafael Méndez. In 1968 he played on the soundtrack of the film Charly, based upon -Flowers for Algernon, a novel by Daniel Keyes. 

In 1970 Almeida was one of the musicians backing Phil Ochs on his Greatest Hits album, produced by Van Dyke Parks, who invited the guitarist back to record the album Discover America in 1972. In 1974 Almeida and Bud Shank formed the L.A. 4 with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne (later replaced by Jeff Hamilton); this unit would eventually turn out at least eight albums, mostly for the Concord label, with which Almeida would be closely associated for the rest of his days. During the 1980s he performed with his second wife, Canadian soprano Deltra Ruth Eamon; he also recorded several albums with guitarist Charlie Byrd and led a trio at Disney World in Orlando, FL. In 1988 he formed a three-piece unit called Guitarjam with Sharon Isbin and Larry Coryell. Laurindo Almeida never failed to get behind musicians who earned his respect, and was especially supportive of other guitarists, including fellow Brazilian Baden Powell and classicist Paulo Bellinati. At the age of 74 he cut a live album (Outra Vez) with his trio at a club near San Diego, performing (in addition to his own compositions) works by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Enriqué Granados, Thelonious Monk, Ludwig van Beethoven, Irving Berlin, and Antonin Dvorák. This intriguingly diverse selection was typical of Laurindo Almeida, who passed away on July 26, 1995, in Van Nuys, CA. 

Source: arwulf arwulf, All Music Guide


Almeida was pioneer in bossa nova, introducing the Brazilian sound to the US long before its great success in the early 1960s. Stan Kenton heard him playing in a Rio De Janeiro nightclub and invited Almeida to come to the U.S. in 1947. He played with Kenton's band during the height of its success in the late 1940s, then settled in Los Angeles, working both as a studio musician and an active member of the jazz scene. In 1953, Almeida recorded two LPs with Bud Shank, on alto sax, that anticipated the sound of bossa nova, a blend of Brazilian guitar and American jazz, nearly a decade ahead of its time. 

He recorded with Stan Getz, Herbie Mann, and others, and enjoyed some success when bossa nova was at its peak with his own album, "Viva Bossa Nova." Almeida also wrote occasionally for films, scoring Maracaibo and Cry Tough. With Shank, Shelley Manne, and Ray Brown, he formed the L.A. Four, a chamber jazz group that enjoyed steady success from the late 1960s into the early 1980s. He also performed classical music, winning Grammys for the albums ``Spanish Guitars of Laurindo Almeida'' and ``Conversations with the Guitar'' in 1961, for ``Reverie for Spanish Guitars'' and ``Discantus'' in 1962, and for ``Guitar from Ipanema,'' in 1965.


No comments:

Post a Comment