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Tribute to a teacher: Concert honors Southwest’s ‘dean of jazz guitar’

Michael Anthony is considered by many to be the dean of jazz guitar in the Southwest.

For decades, Anthony has inspired new generations of artists.

Claudio Tolousse is one of them.

The Albuquerque-based guitarist has put together a concert to pay homage to Anthony.

“It’s a celebration of his impact on not only me, but the many people he’s touched with music,” Tolousse says.

Tolousse will be joined by his best friend, John Maestas, who also learned from Anthony.

“We met him 14 years ago when we were at Manzano High School,” Tolousse says. “We both continued to study with him seriously. He was our teacher and took us to the next level.”

The pair will perform songs ranging from their first years as students under Anthony. The concert will also feature Michael Anthony’s trio, with Rob “Milo” Jaramillo on bass and Andy Polling on drums.

“Michael’s health hasn’t been that good,” Tolousse says. “Literally within the last month and a half, he’s starting to feel better, and that’s great. I remember seeing him perform when I was a student of his in high school. He’s been such a wonderful figure in my life.”

Anthony is know for working with Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, The Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, Peggy Lee and Diana Ross. He’s also worked on TV productions such as “The Carol Burnett Show,” “The Flintstones,” “Laverne and Shirley,” “The Brady Bunch,” “The Dukes of Hazard” and “The Bob Newhart Show.”

Tolousse has come a long way since beginning to play guitar 12 years ago.

The 28-year-old musician is a full-time performer and keeps busy with gigs across the state.

He released an album called “The Story, Part One.”

“It’s a jazz solo album,” he says. “I’m ready to start working on a new album and see which direction I go in. The best thing about playing music is that inspiration comes from everywhere.”