A native of Colombia, reedman, clinician, composer, and arranger, Justo Almario has fused Latin, Afro-Cuban, South American, funk, and jazz genres into his own humble offering. Almario studied at the prestigious Berklee School of Music before a stint with Mongo Santamaria as the band’s musical director. He cut his teeth living in New York and then traveled widely throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In Japan, Almario was a big band guest soloist. After evolving from child protégé to virtuoso, Almario taught at the Henry Mancini Institute and has mentored inner city youth during workshops at the World Stage.
He has performed with Patrice Rushen’s Grammy Awards orchestra, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Ayers, George Duke, Tito Puente, Machito, Dave Grusin, among many others. A multi-instrumentalist, Almario has mastered the soprano and tenor saxophones, clarinet, and flute. In 1992, Almario was an integral part of the Newport Jazz Festival Tour. Two years later, four of the recordings that Almario was featured on earned Grammy nominations.
Almario has been featured on a Jennifer Lopez DVD, the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film Sideways, Andy Garcia's recent movie release The Lost City, and on Romance and Cigarettes, produced by John Turturo.
He was the featured soloist with the Los Angeles Master Choral at the Walt Disney Hall’s inaugural season opener, and also performed at the Christmas concert Celebrar at the same venue. Almario’s career was recently celebrated during a segment of “World Stage Stories,” a comprehensive oral history series that chronicles the evolution of jazz.