By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Talk to anybody well versed on the topic and the response is always the same: Israel "Cachao" Lopez is the true mambo king. Problem is, the always-humble and gentlemanly Cuban bassist/composer/jam session maestro has never felt a need to drag Perez Prado into a steel cage and slug it out for all the glory, particularly at the ripe old age of 86. It just isn't his style. "I didn't create music; music created me," he likes to say. But two Grammy Awards, 28 albums, and a self-titled documentary -- amassed during a seven-decade ride -- clearly indicate this guy is full of descarga.
Specializing in Afro-Cuban music yet not afraid to play with funky fusion or R&B, the Havana-born Lopez toured all over the island for the better part of five decades as a prominent jazz sideman. But not until 1993 -- almost a decade after arriving in Miami to stay, when Andy Garcia brought him out from under a rock via the 1993 documentary Cachao: Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos (Cachao: Like His Rhythm, There Is No Other) -- did Cachao start attracting the masses and gaining worldwide recognition. His award-winning Master Session Vol. I (1994) and El Arte del Sabor (The Art of Flavor)(2002) are proof that he continues to pull all the right strings.
Cachao and his Mambo Allstars perform at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Tickets range from $26.50 to $46.50. Call 305-673-7300.