I haven't seen this come up in many places yet. Via Oliver Wang - master bassist and pioneer of the descarga, Israel Lopez "Cachao" is gone. He passed away Saturday morning at the age of 89. The Miami Herald has a lengthy obituary.
I've been interested in Cuban music for almost ten years now, I guess. Obviously, Buena Vista fever was everywhere in the late '90s, and high school stage bands always played tepid Latin arrangements - a gutless suburban version of Arturo Sandoval's "Funky Cha Cha"was in our books. I remember hearing one of Cachao's legendary descarga tracks on the radio, and it floored me. The life and vitality of it, and the amazingly musical chaos that grew out of a simple tumbao (bass line) - it was just sheer power coming out of the speakers.
RIP Cachao. Your legacy lives on in the fingers, ears, hearts and feet of many.