Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Israel Cachao Lopez - Mambo Star died March, 22th 2008 - Mambo Swing

From: caliventas

Israel "Cachao" López (wikipedia)(September 14, 1918 – March 22, 2008), often known just as "Cachao" (pronounced kah-CHOW) was a Cuban mambo musician, bassist and composer, who has helped bring mambo music to popularity in the United States of America in the early 1950s. He was born in Havana, Cuba. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and has been described as "the inventor of the mambo". He is considered a master of descarga (Latin jam sessions).
Cachao was, in his last years, the most important living figure in Cuban music, on or off the island. And according to Cuban-music historian Ned Sublette he was arguably the most important bassist in twentieth-century popular music, innovating not only Cuban music but also influencing the now familiar bass lines of American R&B, ``which have become such a part of the environment that we don't even think where they came from.
López played the acoustic bass with his late brother, multi-instrumentalist Orestes López. The brothers composed literally thousands of songs together and were heavily influential on Cuban music from the 1930s to the 1950s. They introduced the nuevo ritmo ("new rhythm") in the late 1930s, which transformed the danzón by introducing African rhythms into Cuban music, which led to mambo.
A possibly more important move took place in 1957, when Cachao gathered a group of musicians in the early hours of the morning, pumped from playing gigs at Havana's popular nightclubs, to jam in front of the mikes of a recording studio. The resulting descargas, known to music aficionados worldwide as Cuban jam sessions, revolutionized Afro-Cuban popular music. Under Cachao's direction, these masters improvised freely in the manner of jazz, but their vocabulary was Cuba's popular music. This was the model that wold make live performances of Afro-Cuban based genres, from salsa to Latin jazz, so incredibly hot.
In the early 1960's, according to the documentary-film "La Epoca,", expected in theaters in September 2008, Cachao was one of two of the most in-demand bassists in New York City - the other being Alfonso "El Panameno" Joseph, who was the bassist of legendary Cuban tres player Arsenio Rodriguez for 8 years until Arsenio's death in December 1970. Joseph and Lopez substituted for each other over a span of 5 years, performing at New York City clubs and venues such as the Palladium Ballroom, The Roseland, The Birdland, Havana San Juan, and Havana Madrid. Mentioned in the film, La Epoca, while Cachao was performing with Machito's orchestra in New York, Alfonso was recording and performing with Cuban conga player Candido Camero. When Alfonso left Candido's band to work with Charlie Rodriguez and Johnny Pacheco, it was Cachao who took his place in Candido's band. Cachao was recently scheduled to be interviewed by Executive Producer Josue Joseph of the film in New Haven, CT where Cachao and Palladium-era dancer Cuban Pete were scheduled to perform at Yale University. The film is about the evolution of Latin music and dance during the Palladium-era to present day, and Cachao was scheduled to discuss his contribution of the mambo rhythm, which he derived from Arsenio Rodriguez, documented in the film.
This majestic influence came from a man of sweet demeanor and unassailable sense of humor. Fronting his band at a fancy dance in Coral Gables when he was already in his late 80s, he seemed so frail he had to lean his whole body on the contrabass to keep from falling. But a look at his beatific smile proved that he was in heaven already, embracing his instrument like a lover, like a strong friend.
A marvel of the 20th century, Cachao was born into a family of musicians, many of them bassists -- around 40 and counting in his extended family.
As an 8-year-old bongo player, he joined a children's septet that included a future famous singer and bandleader, Roberto Faz. A year later, already on bass, he provided music for silent movies in his neighborhood theater, in the company of a pianist who would become a true superstar, the great cabaret performer Ignacio Villa, known as Bola de Nieve.
His parents made sure he was classically trained, first at home and then at a conservatory. In his early teens he was already playing contrabass with the Orquesta Filarmónica de La Habana, under the baton of guest conductors like Herbert von Karajan, Igor Stravinsky and Heitor Villa-Lobos.
For a while, he had two distinct musical personae. In the New York salsa scene he was revered as a music god, with homage concerts dedicated to him, and records of his music produced by Cuban-music collector René López. In Miami, he was an ordinary working musician who would play quinceañeras and weddings, or back dance bands in the notorious Latin nightclubs of the Miami Vice era.
Israel Lopez Cachao (1918-2008 ) a brilliant musician, composer, conductor, and an artist who contributed richly to the musical legacy of Cuba, whose music brought together the 50’s aficionados of Cuban rhythms and the millenials of today, worldwide. For years, living in Miami in near obscurity after his escape from Castro's Cuba, Mr. Cachao crossed paths with actor Andy Garcia in the early 1990’s. Andy Garcia’s quest to bring to life Guillermo Cabrera Infante's opus “The Lost City”, hinged on the authentic pre-revolution Cuban music traditions. Their meeting flowered into a nearly two decade collaboration, resulting in Mr. Garcia's documentary film “Cachao”, which gave birth to a fabulous set of new recordings which circled the globe many times over and returned Mr. Cachao to his proper place in the Pantheon of Cuban music legends and Jazz Greats. Still recording and performing almost to the last days before his passing on March 22, 2008 at the age of 89, Mr. Cachao reinvigorated the recent Latin American musical connection with his great passion, talent and generous inclusion of many young musicians in his later work.
It took a celebrity, Miami's own Andy García, to integrate his musical personality into one: that of a legendary master. In the '90s, García produced the recordings known as Master Sessions and big concerts honoring his legacy. Since then, Cachao became again a household word among Cubans and his reputation continued to grow.
Lopez has won several Grammy Awards for both his own work and his contributions on albums by Latin music stars, including Gloria Estefan. In 1995, he won a Grammy for Master Sessions Volume 1. In 2003, he won a Latin Grammy for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album together with Bebo and Patato Valdés for El Arte Del Sabor.
Lopez won a further Grammy in 2005, again for his own work, ¡Ahora Si!.
His nephew, Orlando "Cachaíto" López became one of the mainstays of the famed Buena Vista Social Club group.
Cachao has played with artists such as Celia Cruz, Bebo Valdes, Tito Puente, Willy Chirino, Paquito D'Rivera, Willie Colon, and his music has been featured on movies such as The Birdcage, and on the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack. Actor Andy Garcia produced a documentary entitled Cachao ... Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos ("With A Rhythm Like No Other") in 1993 about his music.
Lopez died on the morning of March 22, 2008 in Coral Gables, Florida at the age of 89. He died from complications resulting from kidney failure.

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