Cuban Legend Israel Lopez 'Cachao' Dies

Cuban bass player Israel Lopez "Cachao," whose place in history as one of the creators of the mambo was forgotten for decades before he was rediscovered and introduced to a broad audience in the 1990s

Cuban bass player Israel Lopez "Cachao," whose place in history as one of the creators of the mambo was forgotten for decades before he was rediscovered and introduced to a broad audience in the 1990s, has died in Miami. He was 89 and had suffered from kidney failure.

Perhaps no other Latin music bass player was as well known on a massive scale as Cachao, who after nearly 30 years in relative obscurity, was "rediscovered" by actor/musician Andy Garcia. Garcia would subsequently produce the Cachao albums "Master Sessions, Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2" as well as the documentary "Cachao: Como Su Ritmo No Hay Otro," which garnered the bassist widespread recognition.

Reborn as a star in his late 70s, the affable Cachao turned out a series of impeccable recordings. Most recently, he collaborated on Gloria Estefan's album "90 Millas."

While Cachao's success can be traced to his classical-trained virtuosity and his inventive descargas, or jam sessions, he is best remembered as the man who invented the mambo.

The claim can be traced back to the 1930s in Cuba, when Lopez and his brother Orestes revolutionized Cuban music with a composition they titled "Danzon Mambo." The piece laid the groundwork for what would become the mambo revolution, carried out by Damaso Perez Prado.

While Perez Prado left Cuba for Mexico and later the United States, popularizing the dance craze as he went along, Cachao remained in Cuba until 1962. After a brief stay in Spain, he moved to the United States, never to return to Cuba.

Cachao would record solo albums for Emilio Estefan's Crescent Moon Records, and later, with Univision. Most recently, he had been signed on by label/management Eventus.