Ariel presented the worldwide megaselling Buena Vista Social Club record at his blog, a fine album and I had to ask myself why I never presented Orlando “Cachaito” López at urbanology, because he is an outstanding musician! Here we go, Orlando Lopez is the heart-beat of the Buena Vista Social Club. Born in Havana, Cuba in 1933 Orlando continues the legendary lineage of bassists from the López family and his musical career started at very early age of 11 years, playing bass in a local orchestra. His early desire was to play the violin, but family tradition forced him to be a bassist. Later stations were the Arcana y sus Maravillas band, a legendary cuban big band that had been around since before Cachiato was born. In the 1950s he helped to develope the descarga, a jazz-styled improvisation music with Afro-Cuban rhythms, besides his father Orestes López and his uncle Israel “Cachao” López, the brothers who were the founding father of the descarga. Several other bands followed and Orlando López developed his typicall way to play the bass,
a big, powerful but precise tone, with an ability to change key fast to accompany the exceptional soloists, (a precision coming from classical training and the demands of the formal structure of the danzón), the ability to sight read and most of all a powerful rhythmic drive and a huge swing and groove.
Worldwide attention he gained with the Buena Vista Social Club, he played on every track on every album and also has been a constant member of Ibrahim Ferrer’s, Rubén González’s and Omara Portuondo´s world-wide touring groups. 2001 Orlando recorded his solo debut and invited musicians like Bigga Morrison from Jamaica at the organ, Miguel Díaz and Amadito Valdés playing at the Congas & Timbales, DJ Dee Nasty from Paris, saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, Ibrahim Ferrer and all backed up by a fantastic selection of cuban and international jazz musicians.
A great album is the result, with an open minded band leader who blends elements of Cuban Jazz, Rocksteady, Funk to Hip Hop into a wonderful album, a Cuban jazz wall of sound with decidedly untraditional elements.