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Biography

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    • Don Fagerquist

b. 2 September 1917, Prainha, São Paulo, Brazil, d. 26 July 1995, Van Nuys, California, USA. A fluent and skilled musician, famous in his native country as a classical Spanish guitar player, Almeida went to the USA in the 40s to work in film and television studios. 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 bass player 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 that came a few years later. In 1974, Almeida gained further appreciation when he was teamed with bass player Ray Brown, drummer Chuck Flores and Shank to form the L.A. 4. 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, showcased the distinctive style that set Almeida’s work apart from the mainstream of jazz guitar. During his career Almeida won Grammy awards in 1959 for his performance on Danzas, and the following year for The Spanish Guitars Of Laurindo Almeida and Conversations With The Guitar. In 1961, he gained two more with Discantos and Reverie For Spanish Guitars, and in 1962 further honours with nominations for 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, and in 1972 he was nominated for the Best Soloist award with The Art Of Laurindo Almeida.

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