Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Justo Almario, a multitalented master saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, composer, arranger and clinician, has a long list of distinguished accomplishments. His style is a fusion of Jazz, South American, and other world rhythms which are a reflection of his own elegant yet humble style. Mr. Almario’s mesmerizing sounds have been heard in Grammy-Award winning works such as Linda Ronstadt’s “Frenesi,” Placido Domingo’s “A Mi Alma Latina,” Luis Miguel’s “Romance,” Andrae Crouch’s “Mercy,” and Isreal Lopez Cachao’s “Master Sessions” & “Ahora Si;” as well as the Oscar-winning soundtracks from Happy Feet and Sideways. Mr. Almario’s playing has been featured on diverse projects, such as Queen Latifah’s “Living Outloud,” Jennifer Lopez’s hit HBO Special “Let’s Get Loud,” Andy Garcia’s “The Lost City,” and John Turturo’s “Romance and Cigarette” staring Susan Sarandon and James Gadolfini. Mr. Almario has also been featured on various Platinum and Gold records and soundtracks, including “More Dirty Dancing”, “Wow Worship,” and Ron Kenoly’s “Lift Him Up.”
In 2002, while joining the ranks of Cedar Walton, Terrence Blanchard and Joe Lovano, Mr. Almario became an integral part of the Newport Jazz Festival Tour, produced by George Wein. Additional performance credits include Patrice Rushen’s Grammy Award orchestra, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Ayers, Diane Reeves, George Duke, Sergio Mendes, Billy Higgins, Tito Puente, Machito, Dave Grusin, Ndugu Chancler, Kenny Burrell, Master P, Bebe Winans, Queen Latifah, Charles Mingus, Chaka Kahn, Herb Alpert, Bobby Shew, and many others.
He has also produced, co-lead and played on TOLU’s “Rumbero’s Poetry” as well as Grammy-nominated album, “El Bongo de Van Gogh”. Mr. Almario’s latest album, “Love Thy Neighbor”, features his quartet playing original compositions as well as rare standards.
A man for all seasons, Mr. Almario was the featured soloist with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Walt Disney Hall’s Season Opener, where he later performed at a Christmas concert “Celebrar.” Mr. Almario’s stellar career was recently celebrated during a segment of “Stories,” a comprehensive oral history series that chronicles the evolution of jazz, at the legendary drummer Billy Higgins’ World Stage. Currently, Mr. Almario is working on an album that is meant to celebrate his tenured career spanning 45 years in the industry.
A native of Colombia, Mr. Almario went from child protégé to virtuoso. Mr. Almario was primarily influenced by John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bartok, Debussy and Bach. He studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music before doing a stint with Mongo Santamaria as the band’s musical director. He has also taught at the Henry Mancini Institute and has mentored inner city youth during workshops at the World Stage. These days, he teaches saxophone in the Jazz Department at UCLA’s Music School.
Mr. Almario currently endorses Rico Reeds and Jody Jazz mouthpieces. Although he is extremely appreciative, this modest wind wizard frequently deflects any accolades, opting instead to thank folks for merely showing up and sharing. This is paramount to a keenly sensitive artist who warmly connects with his diverse audience on many levels and will continue to heal and inspire. Mr. Almario’s music serves as a bridge that links backgrounds, cultures, ages, and socioeconomic status. His music transcends the mundane and leaves his audience transfixed. A devoted family man, Justo’s spiritual path nurtures both his creative journey and his warm compassion as a human being.