By Vivian Ramirez
The First Friday Jazz Series kicked off the new semester with a performance by the Justo Almario Quartet on Friday in the S2 Recital Hall on Friday, Sept. 7.
The group is comprised of a bassist John Pena, guitarist Ramon Stagnaro, drummer Walter Rodriguez and extensively features saxophonist Almario, a well-known musician in the industry.
Almario has shared the stage with Tito Puente, Charles Mingus and Queen Latifah, in addition to working on the “Happy Feet” motion picture soundtrack.
The quartet’s set included popular jazz standards such as “Autumn Leaves,” and original pieces by Almario.
His composition “Seventh Avenue,” was written in the complex meter of 14-8, yet it was easy for the audience to clap along to. Almario came up with the idea of using 14-8 meter during his youth, when he was easing into his music education and wanted to do something more abstract.
The quartert performed other tunes such as Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz,” Rafael Hernandez’s “Lamento Borincano” and Almario’s original composition “Born to Love.”
Almario is on the East Los Angeles College advisory board of commercial music and works with community outreach.