Laurindo Almeida (September 2, 1917 – July 26, 1995) was a Brazilian virtuoso guitarist and composer who made many recordings of enduring impact in classical, jazz and Latin genres. He is widely credited, with fellow artist Bud Shank, for creating the fusion of Latin and jazz which came to be known as the “Jazz Samba.” Almeida was the first artist to receive Grammy Awards for both classical and jazz performances. His discography encompasses more than a hundred recordings over five decades.
Born into a musical family, Almeida was a self-taught guitarist. During his teenage years, Almeida moved to São Paulo, where he worked as a radio artist, staff arranger and nightclub performer. At the age of 19, he worked his way to Europe playing guitar in a cruise ship orchestra. In Paris, he attended a performance at the Hot Club by Stephane Grappelli and famed guitarist Django Reinhardt, who became a lifelong artistic inspiration.
Returning to Brazil, Almeida continued composing and performing. He became known for playing both classical Spanish and popular guitar. He moved to the United States in 1947; a trip financed when one of his compositions, a song known as “Johnny Peddler” became a hit recorded by the Andrews Sisters. In Los Angeles, Almeida immediately went to work in film studio orchestras.
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