Often called LA4, this Los Angeles jazz quartet were
formed in the mid-1970s as a follow on from the bossa nova influenced music
that Laurindo Almeida and Bud Shank had recorded on The Laurindo Almeida
Quartet Featuring Bud Shank on Pacific Jazz Records and the later Brazilliance
After the recording with Bud Shank, Laurindo met up
with the bassist Ray Brown in Los Angeles and they started to perform as a
duo, recording Blues In Greens: Bach Ground. Calling on Bud Shank, twenty
years after they had first performed together, and the drummer Chuck Flores
they got together to make up the quartet known as The L.A. Four and gave
their first performance together at Cal Tech in 1974.
They performed at several local venues and one of them
was at the club of the drummer Shelly Manne. He asked if he could join, and as Chuck Flores hadn’t
wanted to go on the road, he became his replacement and remained with them
for the next three years or so, to later be replaced by the drummer,
percussionist and arranger Jeff Hamilton in 1977.
It was at the time of Shelly Manne joining them that the
quartet’s name changed from The Laurindo Almedia Quartet to The L.A. Four,
with Laurindo saying in an interview in 1979 with Les Tomkins that the L.A.
didn’t stand for his initials, but “can mean Los Angeles, or
anything”. Also in the
interview he said “There’s no leader in this group; we’re all the star. We have a corporation”.
Performing music mostly arranged by Laurindo, they
covered much Brazilian influenced music, bossa nova, jazz and samba styles
and also that of classical composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Vivaldi,
they recorded many albums on the Concord label during their time together,
before disbanding in 1982.
Their first album was recorded at the Concord Jazz
Festival and the many that followed include The Concord Jazz Heritage
Series, Executive Suite, Going Home, Just Friends, L.A.
4, Live at Montreux, Montage, Pavane Pour une Infante
Defunte, Scores, Two by Four, Watch What Happens and Zaca.
The L.A. Four members:
Laurindo Almeida (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Chuck Flores (drums)
Jeff Hamilton (drums/percussion)
Shelly Manne (dums)
Bud Shank (saxophone/flute)