Abe Lagrimas, Jr. is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who begun his musical journey when he first sat behind the drums at the age of four. As he learned more about drums and music, Abe gained an interest in other instruments as his career progressed. Predominantly known as a drummer, Abe is highly proficient on the vibraphone and the `ukulele and continues to perform throughout the world on all three instruments and in many different musical situations.
As a high school student, Abe participated in prestigious music programs such as the Drummers Collective in New York City, the Berklee College of Music 5-week Summer Program in Boston, MA, and the Betty Carter's Jazz Residency in Washington D.C. where he was under the instruction of Dr. Billy Taylor, John Patitucci, George Cables, Terence Blanchard, Carmen Lundy, and Winard Harper. The jazz residency concluded with a performance at the Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts. After high school, Abe continued his studies and attended Berklee College of Music as a North American World Tour Scholarship recipient.
Abe had a 8-year run as a member of one of South Korea’s top jazz group, Prelude, which formed in 2003 and later signed with Sony records in 2005. That same year, Prelude released their debut album entitled Croissant and became one of the top ten selling albums in Korea. Since then, Prelude has released five more albums entitled Breezing Up, 3rd, Both Sides of Prelude, 5th Movement, and Day Off. They were featured at the 2007 Jarasum International Jazz Festival and the 2009 Asian American Jazz Festival in Los Angeles, CA and can be heard in Korean films and TV commercials throughout the country.
He has performed with a variety of notable artists such as Eric Marienthal, Eric Reed, Azar Lawrence, Dontae Winslow, Kamasi Washington, Jon Irabagon, Michael Paulo, Lalo Schifrin, Gabe Baltazar, James Morrison, Benny Rietveld, Jake Shimabukuro, James Ingram, Michael Ruff, Valery Ponomarev, Barbara Morrison, Kenny Endo, and Michelle Coltrane. His versatility has allowed him to work with a variety of artists from around the world such as Yoko Fujimoto (Kodo) and Kiyotaka Sugiyama from Japan, Martin Nievera and Nonoy Zuniga from the Philippines, Dwiki Dharmawan from Indonesia, Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom and Raiatea Helm from Hawaii, and Persian vocalist Shadmehr Aghili. Abe is also a regular member of groups On Ensemble, Phat Cat Swinger, Nutty, Waitiki, Don Tiki, The North, Bop Tribal, and served as the musical director for Los Angeles-based vocalist Charmaine Clamor. In addition to touring throughout the United States and Korea, Abe has performed in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Finland, Germany, Serbia, the Czech Republic, and South Africa. He served as the drummer for the Broadway hit musical RENT in Hollywood’s Hudson Theater, which ran for two months in 2011. In September 2012, Abe was one of twelve semi-finalists to compete in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition. The competition is the world’s most prestigious competition of its kind and has a reputation of breeding the next generation of top jazz artists.
Abe has been collaborating and serving as musical director for Kayamanan Ng Lahi (KNL), a Los Angeles-based Philippine Folk Arts and Dance organization. In 2015, KNL performed to a sold out audience at the Aratani Theater in Los Angeles and is the only all-Filipino-member group to be featured at the prestigious Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, HI. The following year, he performed to another sold out Aratani Theater as part of Kenny Endo's 40th Anniversary Concert Tour.
Abe is also an active educator, giving private lessons and conducting workshops and clinics. He served as a Board of Director for JazzPhil-USA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster growth and advancement in the Filipino and jazz community through music and education. JazzPhil-USA has held clinics in the U.S. and the Philippines. In March 2011, he led his first educational tour with his quartet to work with music students throughout Hawaii’s schools and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His group expanded to a Latin Jazz quintet and traveled to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to perform at the 2013 Giant Steppes International Jazz Festival and conduct workshops and performances at schools throughout the city. Abe has been collaborating annually with the Los Angeles Music Center Active Arts programs such as "Ukule-Along" and "Ukulele Christmas Orchestra" where he serves as an educator. Abe is also an author of the first ever ukulele instructional book and curriculum titled “Ukulele Ensemble, Beginning Ukulele - Level 1” published by Consonus Music Institute. His latest book "Jazz Ukulele: Comping, Soloing, Chord Melodies" is released by Berklee Press and published by Hal Leonard.
The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) has nominated every album (Dimensions, A Pass Out Records Christmas, Ukulele Vibes, Solo Ukulele – The King of Pop, Rhythm & Uke) he has released in the annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. His album Solo Ukulele – The King of Pop, pay tribute to Michael Jackson showcasing unique solo ukulele arrangements of Jackson’s music. It was recognized by HARA in the 2011 awards as the EP Release of the Year, making it Abe's first Hoku win. Abe's international and major label releases include Lovers Uke (Universal Music Japan 2007) and Uke Wired (Pony Canyon Records 2009) in Japan, and Ukulele Vibes (Sony Music Entertainment 2011) in Korea. He is an endorser for Canopus Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Beato Bags, Koolau Ukuleles, Kaminari Cables, Fusion Gig Bags, and Elite Acoustics. Abe currently resides in Los Angeles, California.