Almeida was introduced by his mother, a concert pianist, in the music. Already at the age of 19 he traveled to Europe and was influenced by the music of Django Reinhardt in Paris. With the outbreak of World War II, he returned to Brazil and formed a guitar duo with guitarist Garoto. In 1947, he worked in the band of singer Carmen Miranda. This work led him to the USA, where he was a studio musician for film soundtracks in Hollywood. During this time he also composed the first time for movies. At the end of his life were over 800 film scores for him to book.
Laurindo Almeida was before Antônio Carlos Jobim one of the first of the Bossa Nova made popular in the United States. His album Guitar From Ipanema (1964 ), which he recorded with Irene Kral, won a Grammy. He toured for many years with the Modern Jazz Quartet. In the 1970s, he was with the LA 4 ( Bud Shank, Ray Brown and Jeff Hamilton) very successful. Since the 1950s he lived until his death solely in Los Angeles.