Justo Almario & Abraham Laboriel

Justo Almario

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Justo Almario & Abraham Laboriel Review

by Jonathan Widran

Justo Almario and Abe Laboriel have been jazz hermanos for twenty five years, jamming in clubs, sessions, and as the leaders of the popular L.A. outfit Koinonia. But besides their common Latin heritage (Almario is from Colombia, Laboriel from Mexico) and affinity for everything from blues to rock to South African and tropical sounds, they also share a mutual appreciation for all things spiritual. Despite the fanciful diversity of their logical, long-awaited duet collection Justo Almario Abe Laboriel, it is their love of the Lord which ties their musical beliefs into a collective whole. While Laboriel allows himself a few trademark bassaerobic solos, he never puts his ego in front of the amazing melodies and ensemble vibes. Almario does everything he can-tenor, alto, soprano, flute, even clarinet-depending on the moodswing of the moment. While many of the titles invoke the name of Jesus, the collaboration is about much more than simple Amazing Grace. All-stars like Greg Mathieson, Harlan Rogers, Luis Conte and Paul Jackson, Jr. add their own flairs to all the different musings-pop, jazz and all variations thereof-of the leaders. The result is one of the most inspirational albums of the year, both religiously and musically.

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