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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.
For more information, check out Ronald Purcell's affectionate biography at http://www.csun.edu/~igra/igra/bio/text/almeida.html.
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