In the first of a two-part series, E.E. Bradman takes a comprehensive look at the life of one of the most recorded and influential bassists of all time, Abraham Laboriel.
Read the full cover story with images and sidebars: HEREIn a speech first published after his death in 2008, the influential American writer David Foster Wallace told a parable about two young fish who meet an older fish swimming the other way. The older fish nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” The young fish swim on for a bit, and eventually, one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?” Wallace was referring to the deep-seated belief, “hard-wired into our boards at birth,” that each of us is the center of the universe. But the celebrated writer, who was fond of Pink Floyd, Alanis Morissette, the Flaming Lips, and ’80s music, could easily have been talking about a body of work so ubiquitous in American pop culture that we’ve barely noticed its creator. Over the course of his 48-year career, Abraham Laboriel has brought his heart, ears, and hands to over 4,000 recording sessions, combining a studio ninja’s intense focus