Andy Garcia & The CineSon All Stars to Play Cachao Tributes in Los Angeles

Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Cachao performs on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on July 25, 1994.

After his cinematic romantic duet with Cher makes the charts, the actor returns to his enduring love: Cuban music

Actor Andy García has claimed his first Billboard chart hit as a singer with “Fernando,” the ABBA track from Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which he performs with Cher in the new movie musical. The song, now at No. 30, has been on the Adult Contemporary chart for three weeks.

But García will be celebrating another musical milestone when he appears August 10 and 11 at Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse with The CineSon All Stars. The performances will honor Cuban master Israel “Cachao” López, who would have turned 100 on September 14. Cachao was 89 years old when he died in 2008.

Best known for pioneering the mambo with his brother, Orestes López, Cachao made a spectacular late-life comeback when García put him at the center of a Miami concert and the subsequent documentary Como su Ritmo no Hay Dos in the early 1990s. García produced four Cachao albums -- including the Grammy-winning Master Sessions Vol. 1, which first brought his music to new audiences internationally -- and five documentaries about the Cuban musician.

As he did during sessions with Cachao, Garcia plays bongos with The CineSon All Stars, a 13-member outfit of LA-based musicians, some of whom played with Cachao. The band’s improvisational repertoire is based on themes written and/or performed by the great bass player, improviser and composer.

CineSon’s past appearances at Hollywood’s Catalina jazz club have been crowd-pleasing events, and the band has toured, but only occasionally.  

“It’s hard to keep everybody together because these guys are on the road all the time with bands,” García explains. “They are very coveted. So when we get a chance to play we look forward to it.”

The concerts at the Geffen are the band’s only engagements currently scheduled for Cachao’s centennial year.