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Title Show Information
CACHAO

2006-12-02
Showtime: 10:30PM
Doors Open at

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$35.00 $47.50




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Cachao
FEATURING:
Israel "Cachao" Lopez, bass
Alfredo Valdez Jr., piano
Kiwzo Fumero, trumpet
Jimmy Bosch, trombone
Rafael "TaTa" Palau, sax
Federico Britos, violin
Richie Flores, congas
Jimmy Delgado, timbales
Daniel Palacio, vocals
Anthony Columbie, vocals

Israel "Cachao" Lopez was born some 88 years ago in the same house where the father of Cuban independence, Jose Marti, had lived. Every Jan. 28, Marti's birthday, Cachao and his family had to leave Calle Paula at 6 a.m. and stay away from the house until 9 p.m. to allow schools from all over Havana to conduct field trips into his home. This happened every year until his family moved out and the Cuban government made the house a historic monument.

At the age of 12, Cachao had made his debut with the Havana Philharmonic, standing on a wooden box playing the contrabass alongside his brother Orestes, a founding member of the orchestra. By the age of 19, he had joined Arcano y Sus Maravillas, one of the most popular danzon orchestras in Cuba. Little did Cachao and his brother know that they would change Latin music and create a rhythm called mambo. DON'T FORGET THAT ARCANO was a danzon group (danzon is a Latin minuet style of music, very classical). Cachao and his brother, experimenting with this type of music, added a nuevo ritmo part and called the result "mambo." This happened in the late 1930s, and it revolutionized Latin music.

There are those who like to credit Perez Prado for inventing the mambo, but he did not. Prado did popularize it because he was at the right place at the right time - in Mexico in 1948. A musicianís strike in the U.S. prevented recordings here. Prado, who was under contract to RCA Records, which at the time was one of the biggest record labels in the world, recorded a tune titled "Que Rico el Mambo."

It swept the country. The mambo craze had begun.

IN CUBA, the mambo became just as popular. By the 1950s, Cachao had formed his own group and continued playing with other bands in Cuba, lending his composing skills to other orchestras. It is said that between his brother and him, a staggering 3,000 danzons had been written. Cachao also composed "El Danzon de Buena Vista," the title track for Ry Cooder's "Buena Vista Social Club" album. In 1957, Cachao again blew everybody's mind by creating the descargas, or jam sessions, that had the top musicians in Cuba performing together. These recordings were so popular that in the 1960s, Al Santiago created the Alegre All-Stars, and in the 1970s the Fania All Stars were born.

AFTER CASTRO TOOK OVER CUBA, Cachao left the country for good. When he came to New York, he started playing with such artists as Charlie Palmieri, Tito Rodriguez and the Alegre All-Stars with Tito Puente. Throughout the late 1960s and '70s, he was all over New York City. In the late 1970s, Cachao moved to Miami, where he virtually went into obscurity, regulated to playing small clubs and weddings. It wasn't until 1989, when a young and talented Cuban actor named Andy Garcia came into Lopez's life, that the world would know who this great master musician was. Garcia wanted a taste of his beloved Cuba and its music for "The Lost City," a movie he wanted to produce. It finally was released this year. That has produced two Grammys and a documentary on this man's music and his life.

At 88, there's no stopping him. Having won two Grammys and recorded more than 28 albums, this great musician is still kicking butt. He will perform tonight at this year's JVC concert at Carnegie Hall. Remember, this is the man who created the mambo and the jam sessions. This is history. Believe me, this is an experience that will live with you forever.

By Yaika Garcia

 

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