The secret to Abraham LaBoriel’s lasting impact on popular music will probably never be fully chronicled. Behind his quiet, genial smile and gentle demeanor lies a wealth of talent and experience — the kind that defines genres. If you’ve ever wondered who put down those glorious bass riffs on the original soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever or the stylish solos on Larry Carlton’s debut album, LaBoriel is his name. He has contributed to some of the finest jazz and pop albums, recording over four thousand tracks since 1971.
Understanding the scope of LaBoriel’s work can often be a daunting task. His album credits read more like a Who’s Who of the music world. Compiling a list of artists who list him as a collaborator and session musician is a pointless task. Finding out which artists he hasn’t worked with is a far easier one. Like his accomplished contemporary and session bass guitar player Leland Sklar, LaBoriel is humble to a fault and stands as a hero to the working jazz session musician.
While he is no stranger to the recording studio, his nine solo jazz albums starting with ‘The New Quartet’ in 1973 with Gary Burton to ‘Reyes y Sacerdotes’ in 2011 reveal a gutsy, free-spirited joy rarely heard on popular records. He continues to work with some of the luminaries of the jazz world including drummer Steve Gadd, trumpet player Phill Driscoll, bandleader and pianist Herbie Hancock, guitarist João Gilberto, singer Al Jarreau and guitarist Lee Ritenour.
For a guitarist from Mexico who lost the tip of his index finger when he was four, LaBoriel continues to be a beacon of superlative musicianship and humility in a world where stardom seems to stand against being a good person. Nice guys don’t always finish last. Just ask Abraham LaBoriel.