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[Off The Record]
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Orlando Cachaíto López

Only one musician plays on the entire Buena Vista Social Club suite of CDs: bassist Cachaíto López, the nephew of legendary Cuban bassman Cachao. Born in 1933, Cachaíto is only slightly less a fossil than the BVSC headliners, but on his own first outing, he’s made by far the most contemporary release of the set. Cachao pioneered the free-flowing Afro-Cuban jam session called descarga; here his nephew updates the genre with hip electric guitar from Manuel Galbán, lyrical flügelhorn musings from South Africa’s Hugh Masekela, and even a turn at hip-hop, complete with scratching from Dee Nasty.

Pee Wee Ellis — of James Brown band fame — plays Hammond organ and tenor sax on an abstracted son groove called " Wahira. " BVSC star Ibrahim Ferrer sings in passing on the track, the only vocal work on the album. Ellis also contributes some fine horn arranging with tight clusters of brass commenting on two tracks, and a full string section adds brush strokes here and there. Spareness is the mark of this session: pendulous rhythms and contrasting tone colors never clutter the mix, and everywhere, Cachaíto’s fat, warm, sensuous bass is a commanding and satisfying presence.


Issue Date: June 7 - 14, 2001

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