By Elizabeth Toy
The Music Department is preparing for the arrival of Justo Almario and Abraham Laboriel, two famed jazz instrumentalists who will star in the First Friday Jazz Series Nov. 6.
Listeners can look forward to a fusion of Cuban, Afro, Improvisational jazz as well as jazz standards, American funk and modal jazz. “During the evening (Laboriel and Almario) will introduce music from their native countries of Mexico and Columbia,” Music Department Chair Robert Dawson said.
Born in Colombia, Almario studied music at the Berklee College of Music. A woodwind aficionado, he is a master of the tenor and alto saxophone.
He also has experience in teaching saxophone at California State Los Angeles and countries including Brazil, Mexico and Sweden.
Almario is most known for his fusion of Latin, Afro-Cuban, South America and Funk in his jazz music.
Mexican native Laboriel originally trained in classical guitar, but switched to bass when he studied at the Berklee School of Music.
Since moving to Los Angeles, he has worked with such music greats as Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles and Michael Jackson.
Almario and Laboriel now both play for the instrumental jazz band Open Hands with pianist Greg Mathieson and drummer Bill Maxwell.
“When I started teaching at (East Los Angeles College) in 2001, it surprised me that the students and community had such little exposure to quality jazz. Jazz is one of the few American art forms and Los Angeles is home to many famous jazz artists,” Dawson said.
A large part of Dawson’s career is performing and arranging jazz.
“I am fortunate to be able to call many of these artists friends. Immediately I wanted to have my friends come to ELAC and perform,” Dawson said.
He says the listener will experience a level of musicianship that exists only in the top percentile of all the jazz musicians on the planet.
“Justo Almario and Abraham Laboriel are virtuosos on their respective instruments,” Dawson said.
“The East L.A. students and community have an opportunity to not only listen to, but meet in person and talk to some of the most prominent, gifted musicians on the planet in a beautiful venue with perfect acoustics.”
The First Friday Jazz Series will be in the ELAC Performing Arts Center S2 Recital Hall at 8 p.m.
Doors will open at 7:30 p.m.
General admission is $12 online or at the door. Student admission is $6 with a valid ID. For more information, call the Music Department at (323)265-8894.