Instrumental Jazz Band
Abraham Laboriel is a 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."
Abraham 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 Abraham 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, Stevie Wonder, Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Billy Cobham, Dolly Parton, Elton John, Ray Charles, Madonna, Paul Simon, Andrae' Crouch, The Winans, The Crusaders, Keith Green, Quincy Jones, Umberto Tozzi, Ron Kenoly, Chris Isaak, Paul Jackson Jr., Alison Krauss, and Michael Jackson.
In 2005, Abraham was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Berklee College of Music.
Abraham was a founding member of the bands, Friendship and Koinonia. He now is a member of "Open Hands" with Justo Almario, Greg Mathieson and Bill Maxwell.
Justo Almario is a native of Colombia, reedman, clinician, composer and arranger. He has fused Latin, Afro-Cuban, South American, Funk and Jazz genres into his own humble offering. Justo studied at the prestigious Berklee School of Music before a stint with Mongo Santamaria as the band’s musical director.
Justo has performed with Patrice Rushen’s Grammy Awards Orchestra, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Ayers, George Duke, Tito Puente, Koinonia, Dave Grusin, Ndugu Chancler, Alex Acuna, Abraham Laboriel, TOLU, Donald Vega, Harold Land Jr. Al Mckibbon, Master P, Bebe Winans, Queen Latifah, Charles Mingus, Chaka Kahn, Linda Rondstadt, Herb Alpert, Bobby Shew, John Heard, Lorca Hart, Billy Higgins and “Jose Rizo’s Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars.” Always in demand, Justo’s complete list of credits and Grammy award recordings are simply too extensive to mention.
John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bach, Bartok and Debussy are among Justo’s primary influences. After evolving from child protégé to virtuoso, Almario taught at the Henry Mancini Institute and has mentored inner city youth during workshops at the World Stage.
A multi-instrumentalist of the highest caliber, Justo has mastered the soprano and tenor saxophones, clarinet and flute. Justo thoroughly engages his listeners with rhythmic, call and response interludes. Although he is extremely appreciative, this modest wind wizard frequently deflects any accolades, opting instead to thank folks for merely showing up and sharing. This is paramount to a keenly sensitive artist who warmly connects with his audience on so many levels.
Justo was featured on Let’s Get Loud, a Jennifer Lopez DVD. He also appeared on “Ahora Si," a CD by Israel Lopez “Cachao” that garnered two Grammys. No stranger to Hollywood, Justo was heard on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film Sideways. In addition, Justo is featured on Andy Garcia's recent movie release The Lost City and on Romance and Cigarettes, produced by John Turturro and starring Susan Sarandon and James Gandolfini.
He has also produced and recorded on Tolu’s Grammy-nominated CD “El Bongo de Van Gogh.” Justo’s latest CD, “Love Thy Neighbor,” features his quartet playing original compositions as well as rare standards.
Justo cut his teeth, living in New York, before traveling widely throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Justo is now a member of "Open Hands" with Abraham Laboriel, Greg Mathieson and Bill Maxwell.
Justo's music will continue to heal and inspire. A devoted family man, Justo’s spiritual path nurtures both his creative journey and his warm compassion as a human being.
Greg Mathieson has been a native of Southern California his whole life. He started piano lessons at the age of 10 and, then, switched to the trumpet at age 14, so he could participate in school activities. During Junior High and High School, he continued to play the piano and took harmony lessons. In 1970, he attended CSUN for one year. At this point, he decided to become a professional musician.
Greg replaced Edgar Winter in "White Trash," cut an album with them, and played the Whiskey a Go Go. Greg was in Al Jarreau's band the night Al Jarreau got his record deal at the Troubadour club. From 1974 -1976, he traveled with Helen Reddy around the world and from 1976-1978 he traveled with Olivia Newton-John. Greg played on two of the hit singles from the movie sound track of Grease that featured Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. In 1977-78, Greg started his own fusion band and started playing at Jazz clubs, like the Baked Potato in North Hollywood. At this same time, he met Larry Carlton, with whom he recorded four albums and with whom he still continues to perform "live."
In 1978, Greg made a commitment to stop traveling and become a part of the vibrant L.A. studio scene. Not only did he become one of the top keyboard session players, but he also became one of the top arrangers, including string and horn arrangements. It was at this time that he played and arranged his first hits with Donna Summer, Barbara Streisand, Deniece Williams, the sound track for Midnight Express and two big hit albums with Umberto Tozzi in Europe.
In the early 1980's, he tried his hand at producing and he immediately had hits with Tony Basil's "Mickey," Laura Branigan's "Gloria." He, then, produced two records for Sheena Easton that went platinum, and he had four "Top Ten" singles.
In his playing career, he has played "Jazz" with Al Jarraeu, Manhattan Transfer and Larry Carlton; "Pop" with Barbara Streisand, Deniece Williams Toni Basil and Sheena Easton; "Rock" with the members of Toto; "R & B" with Christina Aguilara, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight and Peobo Bryson; "Dance" with Donna Summer and Laura Branigan; "Blues" with Robben Ford; "Country" with Faith Hill and Randy Travis; "Soul" with Martha & The Vandellas and The Stylistics; "Gospel" with Helen Baylor and Andre Crouch; "World" with Jonathon Butler; "Latin" with Julio Iglesias and Jose Jose; and "Reggae" with Jimmy Clift.
Greg is now working with Abraham Laboriel, Justo Almario and Bill Maxwell with their new group "Open Hands."