The man who liberated the bass

TECHNICAL NOTE: It’s not your eyes. This is an hazy, old piece of video.

It’s one of the great mysteries of music history.

Israel López Valdés (“Cachao”) was born in September 14, 1918 in Havana, Cuba.

Less than a month later, Jimmy Blanton was born on October 5, 1918 in Chatanooga, Tennessee. He died at twenty-four on July 30, 1942.

Before these two giants came along, no one played the bass this way. Cachao in Cuba and Blanton in the US completely revolutionized the instrument.

Blanton opened the doors for people like Charles Mingus, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, and so many other great artists and Cachao changed the sound of Latin music.

Did they know each other? Did they ever have occasion to hear each other’s music?

From my analysis, while it’s possible, both artists had already created their respective styles before their recordings would have made it to each other’s countries.

What stars were in the sky when these two were born?

The interview video was copied off TV in Miami on the 1990s. Thanks goodness someone had the presence of mind to interview Cachao and thanks to Rick Camara for posting it.

Now Cachao in action…

Cachao & Paquito D’Rivera

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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