The weather was just right as a crowd of Jazz enthusiasts gathered to experience the glorious and tireless musicianship of Justo Almario and his wonderful ensemble on May 2, 2008 at the Friday Night Jazz Series hosted by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in Los Angeles, California.
Justo conducted a "sound check" with the standard, "All The Things You Are" that quickly captivated our attention. His attention to melody, harmony, and the essence of the tune during his warm up was exquisitely beautiful.
Mr. Almario humbly accepted the applause and whispered into his microphone with a mischievous smile, "sound check, just a sound check". A teasing appetizer of what was yet to come. The seating quickly filled at the outdoor venue but music lovers weren't complaining as they stood in crowded spaces. They were eagar to see Justo and his accompanying matchless musicians began their journey into a scrumptious musical meal for us.
The Thelonius Monk tune, "I Mean You" was the starter course for the evening intertwined with a quote from a Thelonius Monk/Kenny Clarke Bop favorite "Epistrophy" evoking nods of approval from the rhythm section and the audience.
This was followed by the Sonny Rollins tune "Oleo" wonderfully performed. We continued our fine dining enjoying the interaction of a trade of fours between the rhythm section and Justo.
Staccato, legato, slurred, or tongued on each note, phrase, and chord an exciting statement was conveyed filling the atmosphere with joy. The audience had opportunity to join in on a soulful rendition of "Watermelon Man" by chanting "Watermelon Man" when Justo gave us the cue.
The night was adorned with a beautiful Cuban piece originally performed in the 1920's, by Ernesto Lecuona - "Al Fin Te Vi."
Featured with an engrossing enticement were Walter Rodriquez on Drums and Edwin Livingston on Bass. Edwin and Walter in their own rite provided an astoundingly alluring solos and accompaniment to Justo Almario's brilliant mastery on Clarinet.
As night progressed so did the quartets’ vibrant expressions on each tune presented for our listening pleasure.
We left satisfied from the delectable jazz delights of the night.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art holds their Friday evening Jazz Series throughout the remainer of spring and the entire summer from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm for your music consumption.
Stop by on a Friday night and have it the Jazz way.