"Israel "Cachao" López (September 14, 1918 – March 22, 2008), often known just as "Cachao" 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, won several Grammy Awards, and has been described as "the inventor of the mambo".
He 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.
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 two documentaries about this music, Cachao ... Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos ("With A Rhythm Like No Other") (1993) and Cachao: Uno Más, which premiered in April 2008 at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The inspiration for Cachao: Uno Más, made by San Francisco State University's DOC Film Institute, came largely from from a concert Cachao played at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco, and the film's premiere was followed by a tribute concert with the John Santos Band at Yoshi's Jazz Club SF. Lopez died on the morning of March 22, 2008 in Coral Gables, Florida at the age of 89."
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