Ubassists of the World – Abraham Laboriel

Abraham Laborial and me before the Open Hands concert in Sweden this past July
Abraham Laborial and me before the Open Hands concert in Sweden this past July

Hi,

One day in July I got the news that one of my bass heroes would come to Sweden for one gig. We are both Kala Ubass Endorsees (which is pretty amazing to start with) so I managed to hook up with him through the company. 

The meeting/concert was in the southern parts of Sweden and I traveled there with two of my Kala solid body ubasses. 

Who is Abraham Laboriel?

Some of you may know about him and some don’t so I’ll give you a brief background here.

Let’s start with some of the artists he has worked with as a session musician in Los Angeles:

Al JarreauGeorge BensonAlan SilvestriAlvaro Lopez and Res-Q BandAlvin SlaughterDon FelderAndraé CrouchAndy PrattAndy SummersBarbra StreisandBilly Cobham, Carlos Skinfill, Chris IsaakChristopher CrossCrystal LewisDave GrusinDjavanDolly PartonDon MoenDonald FagenElton JohnEngelbert HumperdinckFreddie HubbardHansonHerb AlpertHerbie HancockJohnny HallydayKeith GreenKelly WillardLalo SchifrinLarry CarltonLee RitenourLeo SayerLisa LoebMadonnaMichael JacksonNathan DavisPaul Jackson Jr.Paul SimonQuincy JonesRay CharlesRon KenolyRuss TaffStevie Wonder, and Umberto Tozzi.

Abraham Laboriel Sr. (born July 17, 1947) is a Mexican bassist who has played on over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks.[1] Guitar Player Magazine described him as ”the most widely used session bassist of our time”.[2][3] Laboriel is the father of drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and of producer, songwriter, and film composer Mateo Laboriel.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Laboriel

Abraham trying out my Solid Body fretted 5-string tuned EADGC
Abraham trying out my Solid Body fretted 5-string tuned EADGC

 

Meeting Abraham was such a joy. He’s a wonderful, warm human being with such a big heart. Hearing/seeing him play live has knocked me every time. He is an ”all in” performer that really speaks to you from heart to heart. He has been in my musical life for quite some time. I told him about hearing/seeing him at concert in the mid 80’s and even in the town where I work now on a gig probably more then 10 years ago. 

We started talking and I showed him what I have done on my blog, video lessons and recordings. What was supposed to be an interview became a nice chat about music and life, almost as we had known each other since the mid 80’s…

I really hope we can meet again soon and continue of talk and I might even get around to ask him my prepared questions! 🙂

As I wrote earlier my two solid body’s were on the trip with me and I wanted to show Abraham these. You might have picked up that I have experimented with ”new” strings on these two 5-strings. (I will do a proper blog post about these tests soon!) Anyway, Abraham started playing on the fretted one, unamplified, and after a while I grabbed the fretless one and join in on the quiet jam. It sure was nice to get to play with one of my bass heroes!

Here’s a little snippet of that jam…

All the best to all ubassists out there,

Magnus

Some youtube videos featuring Abraham:

Build your own solid body Ubass – all you need to know | Phase 2 – Body Setup 1

DIY UBassKIT Video 2-upload-teaser

Hi,

It’s time for Phase 2!
It will focus on the setup of the body and first up is strap buttons and thumb wheels for the bridge.

The PDF instructions I compiled from info at kalabrand.com (no longer available) can be downloaded on this link: U-Bass Kit Assembly Instructions compiled by playubass-SMALL

Next up: EQ/Pre-amp, output jack, volume/tone knobs and back plate!

I have also done a video that shows you how to change the EQ/Pre-amp in a solid body ubass!

Read more about previous steps in this DIY project in posts that can be found on the DIY-page!

Until next tine: Have fun – play Music!

/Magnus

Over the rainbow…new track from ”Speaking UBass” vol. 1

Over The Rainbow-bandcamp-2-big

Hi,

Its Christmas and time to release the third track from the first ”Speaking UBass” album!

This time it’s a track that I started working on quite sometime back! I have always loved the classic song from The Wizard of Oz, ”Over The Rainbow”. I love to sing it and thought I should do something with my voice and the ubass. I decided to start with the lesser known verse and wrote a ubass chord arrangement using mostly arpeggios but also some ”regular” chords. Playing this in tune was quite a challenge and took a while to learn and record.

Anyway, I hope you have a great Holiday and that you will enjoy my ubass version of this classic song!

 

Please check out: Good Harvest – a fantastic duo from Sweden

Good Harvest

Hi,

A while ago the amazingly talented Swedish duo, Good Harvest uploaded a video on their Facebook page.
I have followed Good Harvest for awhile and got to know them when they have played in Orebro, Sweden.

The song is called ”Ukulele man” and I thought… -I’m kind of a ukulele (bass)man! 🙂
I started to jam along and came up with a bass part and a vocal harmony part.
These parts were added to the Facebook video and the result sent to Good Harvest.
They liked it! 🙂 I have already put it on my Facebook page but now it’s also on my YouTube-channel

We have talked about the possibility to record the song together in the future.
Would be very nice!

Hope you will enjoy this!

Playubass in Brazil 2015!

Playing a gig at the pub, Stadt Bier in Brasilia, Brazil

In the end of May 2015 I did my first ever trip to Brazil! I have been listening to Brazilian music since the early 90’s and have played Brazilian music for quite some time too. See previous posts with a Brazilian content: Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3 | Post 4 | Post 5 | Post 6 | Post 7 |

Finally being able to travel to Brazil was a very big thing for me!

The main reason for this trip was to visit schools and find out ways to set up some kind of exchange program between the school where I work in Sweden and schools in the capital city of Brazil, Brasilia.

I had a really busy travel plan with several visits booked for almost everyday of the eight-day trip. These visits were to different schools with arts and music focus. I’ll try to write more about this later. We’ll see what happens with these ”might-be” exchanges. It’s interesting to see how it unfolds and evolves.

Besides these visits I also got to play some Music! With me on this trip was my colleague, Eva Stenström. We had prepared some songs we could perform on only bass and vocals. To make the travel easy I brought my spruce Kala Ubass and the new Phil Jones Bass ”Double Four” amp I just bought just before the trip. Traveling with this setup was very nice and I was able to get both the UBass and the amp into the cabin of each flight we did.

I will write more about the Phil Jones Double Four in a future blog post. Until then you can check it out on the company’s webpage.

Kala Ubass and Phil Jones Bass Double Four at Café C’est La Vie

Me and Eva did a few workshops involving playing, different vocal techniques and I also did a short live looping workshop featuring the TC Electronic Ditto looper. If someone is interested in knowing more about live looping with the ubass (and other instruments) please let me know and I could make a series of posts on the subject! Send an email to ubasslessons@gmail.com [Older post featuring Ubass and the ditto looper!]

We met a lot of really great musicians and teachers and students at all three schools we visited. A very big thanks for taking such good care of us. Extra big thanks to: Lucas at Escola de Musica, Henrique at Escola de Choro, Antenor and Alexei at University of Brasilia, William and Barbara for giving us a great tour of Brasilia!

Workshop and concert at Escola de Musica, Brasilia

Besides playing as a duo we also got joined bit different Brazilian musicians and also got the change to sit in on a concert and also do a ”club” gig with two great Brazilian musicians that will come to Sweden this fall. I hope we will be able make some more music together. Stay tuned!

There isn’t that many recorded videos from this trip but I will let you hear some music bits and pieces. See this video! There is also a gallery of photos from our workshops, concerts and some scenic ones too!

It was a great trip with lots of interesting meets with universal language of music as a great common ground! Thanks to everyone that made our first trip so fantastic!

Some links you check out!
Lucas de Campos, guitarist and professor at Escola de Musica
One of his projects (Text in Portuguese)

Choro pra Cinco (A great Choro group!) Link to YouTube-video

Info about the great bass player Oswaldo Amorim (and also about the late great Nico Assumpção)

Great Facebook page about Brazilian bass: Baixobrasil

Lucas Fernandes, bass player, there is also a Ubass track on his Soundcloud!

Henrique Alvim, guitar player. Check out his band A Engrenagem

Paula Zimbres – a great bass player I met and heard in Brasilia

Paula played with Sergio Boré at Clube do Choro!
See video below!

The schools and some places we visited
Escola de Musica
Escola de Choro
Universidade de Brasilia
Clube do Choro

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Play Music,
Magnus

Kala ubass on Swedish tour and Live CD

If you follow playubass on Facebook you might have seen some posts about a recent tour I did in concert halls from the north to south of Sweden. The tour that started in October last year finished with a sold out show in the prestigious Berdwalldhallen, home of the Swediah Radio Symphonic Orchestra in Stockholm. All in all we played 18 shows.
On the first four shows I used my Bakithi Kumalo signature solid body for six of the 18 songs in the show that celebrated the life and music of Ted Gardestad. More about Ted and his brother in the sidebar! When the tour continued this spring I also added my spruce fretless. I used that on two of the six songs I played the Bakithi ubass.*
We recorded quite a few of the shows on multitrack and released a live CD in April.

At the moment this live CD is only available at our live shows.

I have made snippets of the songs that I played ubass on so you can hear how, in my opinion, beautifully the sound of the ubass sits in the overall sound of these songs.
I will probably make lessons based on these songs. Please let me know if there is any particular song you want me to do first!
Now let’s take a look and listen to the songs that feature bass parts played on a ubass.

Songs
Chapeau Claque (Bakithi Kumolo Signature Solid Body Ubass) This song is so much fun to play. It really takes a while getting used to the combined meters thoughout the song! I used the solid body here relying on its warm and round sound!

Angela (Bakithi Kumolo Signature Solid Body Ubass) This song is a bit folky and I go ”full country” with a root-five motion in the verses! Since I didnt bring a P-bass [Fender Precision Bass] on the tour the solid body doubles as one. and does a very good job! [ In my Kala SUB vs. Kala California video I compare the California solid body and the SUB with a P-bass if you want to hear musical examples played on all these three instruments. ]

Äntligen på väg [Finally on our way] (Spruce fretless acoustic/electric Ubass) For the ”unplugged” feel of this song the acoustic/electric was a easy choice. It sounds perfect here and it also looks killer!

När showen är slut [When the show has ended] (Bakithi Kumolo Signature Solid Body Ubass) Once again I’m looking for a P-bass-ish sound.

Satellit [Satelite] (Bakithi Kumolo Signature Solid Body Ubass) This song is SO much easier to play on a ubass compared to a regular full scale electric bass! I also sing backup vocals on this one and the extended fingering I use makes it easy to focus on both bass part and vocal part since I don’t have to look at the Ubass during the choruses because I don’t need to do any position shifts. I first used this approach when we did concerts back in 2012 featuring this song. You can actually learn this song if you want. Check out this lesson: Part 1  | Part 2. Singing the chorus while playing the  bass part is optional but a really good challenge! 🙂 Read even more here!

Jag vill ha en egen måne [I want my own moon] (Spruce fretless acoustic/electric Ubass) For the encore I use the acoustic/electric again. It feels so good the let people have the ”sight memory” of this wonderful instrument in their minds as they leave the concert hall 🙂


Sidebar

Ted Gardestad and his brother Kenneth wrote a lot of wonderful music that I cherished by a lot of the Swedish population. The keyword for all the songs is LOVE. And the songs all have a warm felling about them, no harch words…The songs range from really happy ones to more deep sounding lyrics. The brothers recorded their own demos and wanted to play these for record companies. They ended up at Sweden music and Benny Andersson and Stikkan Andersson. The musicians and singers on the first albums are quite well known throughout the world. I only need to say one word any you will know who they were……ABBA!

To find out more please check out this link!

I really hope you enjoy these little pieces of Swedish pop music history!

We have had a great time helping to keep this song treasure alive!
Play Music! /Magnus

(* Besides the two ubasses I used three more instruments.

– Swedish custom Ares fretted 5-string made for me in 1996

Ibanez Gary Willis signature 5-string fretless (Production model, GWB35 with a Aguilar OBP-3 preamp) Stringed with regular round wound strings.

Rob Allen MB-2 fretless 4-string. Stringed with LaBella Copper Nylon strings.

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Playing Ubass with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra

The Bass Section of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and me!
The Bass Section of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and me!

Hi,
One of my goals with this blog/site is to take my Ubasses to places you normally don’t see one!
Here’s a new experience for me and the Ubass 🙂
Besides blogging I do other stuff too 🙂 I work as a music teacher and ICT-pedagogy in a Swedish secondary school with an arts program (music, dance, theatre, and visual arts).
Among the highlights we give our music and dance students is a collaboration with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra that is based in our town. Since our hometown <a href=”http://www.orebro750.se/”turns 750 years in 2015 we decided to do a concert with songs that is either performed or composed by someone from here. (There is even a bass neck and head in the logo! 🙂

I had to (which wasn’t a sacrifice at all) chime in and play two songs on these concerts. One of the songs lend itself towards the Ubass. So I decided to play my trusty acoustic/electric on a jazz ballad. It is composed and arranged for orchestra by one of Sweden’s premiere jazz pianists and composers, Lars Jansson. The song is called Hilda’s smile. Below is a sneak peak of one of our performances of the song. It was great to play together with this wonderful orchestra once again. I have done it a couple of times before in different projects, but never before with a UBass. It was also nice to talk and hang with the nice fellows of the bass section. See pic above!

Ubass + Chamber orchestra = check 🙂

More of Lars Jansson’s music here!

More about the orchestra here!