Friday, February 6, 2009


Abraham Laboriel, Sr. (born July 17, 1947) is a Mexican bassist who has played on over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks. Guitar Player Magazine described him as: "the most widely used session bassist of our time". Laboriel is the father of drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and of producer, songwriter, and film composer Mateo Laboriel.

Laboriel was born in Mexico City. Originally a classically trained guitarist, he switched to bass guitar while studying at the Berklee School of Music. Henry Mancini encouraged Laboriel to move to Los Angeles, California and pursue a recording career. Since then, he has worked with artists as diverse as Donald Fagen, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Dave Grusin, Andy Pratt, Stevie Wonder, Hanson. Barbra Streisand, Al Jarreau, Billy Cobham, Dolly Parton, Elton John, Ray Charles, Madonna, Paul Simon, Keith Green, Alvaro Lopez and Res-Q Band, Lisa Loeb, Quincy Jones, Russ Taff, Engelbert Humperdinck, Umberto Tozzi,Ron Kenoly, Rabito, Mylène Farmer, Crystal Lewis, Chris Isaak, Paul Jackson Jr. and Michael Jackson. When Laboriel recorded his three solo albums (Dear Friends, Guidum ,and Justo & Abraham), he recruited a cast of musicians that included Alex Acuña, Al Jarreau, Jim Keltner, Phillip Bailey, and others.

Laboriel was a founding member of the bands, Friendship and Koinonia. He plays live regularly with Greg Mathieson, drummer Bill Maxwell ,and Justo Almario. Abraham is now in the band Open Hands with Justo Almario, Greg Mathieson and Bill Maxwell

In 2005, Abraham was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Berklee College of Music.


Spectrasonics: Abraham Laboriel Sr.

Bass Player magazine Studio Legend Recognized With Honorary Degree


Abraham Laboriel is a world renowned bassist and the founder of the band KOINONIA. He was born and raised in Mexico City where he received his earliest musical training from his father, a gifted guitarist and composer. His first recording was at age 10 as part of a "rock and roll" group called "Los Traviesos". After performing in Mexico thru his teen years as both a musician and an actor, he moved to Boston where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the Berklee School of Music in 1972. During that time he recorded with faculty member, famed vibraphonist Gary Burton. He traveled with Johnny Mathis, Michel Legrand, and Henry Mancini and moved to Los Angeles in 1976 to begin a very diverse and fruitful studio recording career.

He has performed and recorded with many jazz artists including George Benson, Larry Carlton, the Crusaders, Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Grusin, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Al Jarreau, John Klemmer, Manhattan Transfer, Joe Pass, Joe Sample, Lalo Shifrin, Diane Schuur, Sara Vaughan, and Joe Zawinul. He recorded with Lee Ritenour, Ernie Watts, and Alex Acuna in a band called "Friendship" and has continued to record and travel with Lee and Dave Grusin for GRP Records. He also has been much in demand for work with artists like Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, Jeffrey Osborne, Chaka Khan, Robbie Robertson, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Ruben Blades and countless others. He was in fact voted by his peers in the LA Chapter of NARAS as the "Most Valuable Player" in the Bass chair for the three years in a row, joining Ray Brown and Chuck Domanico in that honor.

Born: July 17, 1947
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico
Instruments: Bass
Genre: Jazz
Style: Crossover Jazz


Larry Carlton once said,"There are a lot of great bass players in this world, but there is one, and only one Abraham Laboriel." 

This tribute best describes the unique artistry of the Mexico City born virtuoso of the Bass Guitar. To witness Abe play one immediately understands that music is essentially about passion and he is truly one of the most gifted interpreters. 

Originally a classically trained guitarist, Abraham infused his flamenco style on the bass guitar when he made the transition to four strings at the Berklee School of Music. Since the day that the late Henry Mancini encouraged him to come to Los Angeles, Abe has played on over 3000(!) recordings and soundtracks, prompting Guitar Player to succinctly peg him as "...the most widely used session bassist of our time." You have undoubtedly heard the diversity of his contributions to recordings by music's creme de la creme including: 

Stevie Wonder, Robbie Robertson, Joe Zawinul, George Benson, Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Dave & Don Gruisin, Elton John, Joe Sample, Dori Caymmi, Quincy Jones, Justo Almario and Michael Jackson to name a few. He was also a founding member of the internationally acclaimed fusion groups Friendship and Koinonia. 

Abraham's solo albums,"Dear Friends", "Guidum" and "Justo & Abraham" are stunning collections of contemporary urban and jazz originals that gather super talents from all over the music industry such as: Steve Gadd, Alex Acuña, Al Jarreau, Jim Keltner, Ernie Watts, Greg Mathieson, Paul Jackson Jr., and Phillip Bailey. 

I can't think of anyone that embraces the joy of music more than Abraham Laboriel.


1 comment:

  1. I can certailnly attest to the remarkable passion Abraham has for playing. He made no bones about his gift from God as he played for a project I produced called "Believing Side of Life" (Trevis Rothwell & Friends).

    If you'd like to check out that project, visit

    Bruce Rothwell