Cachao Lopez, Mambo Progenitor, Dies
The legendary Cuban musician Israel López, more commonly known as Cachao, has died in Miami at the age of 89. López, a classically trained bassist, is credited with creating the mambo. He was born into a musical family in Havana in 1918 and began his career playing music for silent films. He began playing with Havana's Symphony Orchestra while still a teenager. By the 1930s he was well-known as a Latin jazz virtuoso along with his brother Orestes López. He was a prolific composer, writing many songs based on the Cuban Son style.
Known to the world by his nickname, Cachao, bassist, composer and bandleader Israel Lopez died Saturday morning at Coral Gables Hospital of complications resulting from kidney failure. He was 89.
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.
Cachao and his brother Orestes are most widely known for their late-1930s invention of the mambo. Cachao always admitted that it was bandleader Damaso Perez Prado who made the beat famous in the '50s.