Mike Lang/Abe Laboriel Luncheon – October 21, 2009

On Wednesday, October 21, pianist Mike Lang and bassist Abe Laboriel were featured guest speakers at the monthly ASMAC luncheon. Part of the time was spent with interviewer composer Ron Jones asking questions about their careers. Mike and Abe ended the afternoon with performing beautiful duos on three selections.

A few words from Mike Lang –

Born in Vienna, September 13th, 1874.  Applied to study composition with Alexander von Zemlimsky.  However, after I told him I wanted to become a composer of Cereal Music, he rejected me, explaining that hunger strikes were coming…  Some years later, I attempted to write an opera based on themes of Scott Joplin.  He pirated the whole thing and produced “Treemonisha” under his own name.  What’s the matter with these Ragtime guys?  After I “invented jazz outright in 1902”, I accepted Jelly Roll Morton as a student, and he appropriated my assertion. What’s the matter with these Jazz guys??!

After these frustrating experiences, I decided to try something new and managed the great blues artist, Robert Johnson.  But because he refused to limit his blues choruses to 12 bars, I couldn’t get him any gigs. So I went into isolation for many years, living as a hobo on trains, and trying to create microtonal instruments in Just Intonation.  But I could never find enough water, and my lips got “Partched”!

Be receptive to the unknown — let things come from who knows where, and pass through you to your audience.  Mistakes are divine, erring is human.  One cannot hope to control the unexpected.

Be serious in not being too serious.  Art is human experience.  The profundity of laughter cannot be overestimated.

MOTTO:  Do everything as if it were the first AND last time.  Passion is GOOD!

Abe Laboriel

A pioneer who redefined the role of the electric bass in contemporary music, he likes to say he “invites the music to visit” as he opens his heart to the moment and lets the music flow. A master of the groove, Abraham is “the most widely used session bassist of our time” according to Guitar Player magazine. Having performed on over 4000 recordings and soundtracks, his first love remains connecting with a live audience and enjoying the “music of the moment.”

Born and raised in Mexico to Garifuna parents, he received his earliest musical training from his father, a gifted composer and guitarist. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Abraham was a founding member of pioneering jazz groups Friendship with Lee Ritenour, Ernie Watts, and Alex Acuña, and Koinonia. He has performed and recorded with a remarkable array of jazz artists including Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Larry Carlton, Dave Grusin, Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, George Duke, Joe Sample, the Crusaders, Manhattan Transfer, Gary Burton, Joe Williams, and Joe Zawinul.