Tolu

Biography:

The history of Tol˙, Los Angeles’ most powerful Latin band, began in the early 1980s, when reedman Justo Almario congregated some of the best local musicians among them Alex AcuÒa, Luis Conte, Arturo Velasco, etc. The history of Tol˙, Los Angeles’ most powerful Latin band, began in the early 1980s, when reedman Justo Almario congregated some of the best local musicians among them Alex AcuÒa, Luis Conte, Arturo Velasco, etc. The name of the band made reference to the Caribbean coastal town next to Sincelejo, Colombia, birthplace of Almario, who recalls that Tol˙ was formed because those musicians wanted a space to improvise within the realm of Latin music, and were not allowed to do so in the Latin dance clubs.

With this objective in mind, Almario assumed the position of musical director and wrote Tol˙’s creative arrangements. Due to the conflicting commitments of the participants, AcuÒa points out that Tol˙ was never officially structured as an active band. Contrary to the prevailing expectations, Tol˙ became an influential institution when the all-star band’s live performances led to critical acclaim and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) filmed a concert of its music, which was aired throughout the country.