Spotlight: Cinema by the Bay
USA, 2008, 68 minutes
Mon, Apr 28 / 6:30 / Kabuki / CACH28K
Fri, May 2 / 1:15 / Kabuki / CACH02K
A mild-mannered elderly gentleman steps onstage amid an ensemble of topnotch musicians. It is the living legend, the “Picasso of the bass,” the great Cuban musician Israel “Cachao” López, who immediately becomes the center of the action. Stirring San Francisco concert footage at Bimbo’s 365 Club is interspersed with interviews with friends, associates and Latin music aficionados who describe López’s vast influence and recount affectionate stories of the man they so admire. In the 1940s, López, with his brother Orestes, brought the rhythm section to the forefront of the sedate Cuban danzón and in the process virtually invented modern Cuban music. In the 1950s, Cachao popularized descargas—raucous jam sessions that brought together legendary Cuban musicians. Now nearly 90, the unstoppable Cachao recalls his boyhood forays into music and the days when musicians often performed without pay simply for the love of song. Cachao: Uno Más is an impassioned valentine to the Cuban artist and innovator, and a fitting follow-up to Andy Garcia’s concert documentary Cachao (Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos) (SFIFF 1993). Garcia has devoted himself to maintaining the legacy of the great musician who (judging by the heartfelt accolades the actor voices as he accompanies the maestro onstage) has reconnected him to his roots. The Bimbo’s show—an all-star jam with a group assembled by John Santos (who plays the congas)—includes saxophonist Justo Almario, timbalero Orestes Vilató, vocalist Lázaro Galarraga and a brilliant battle of affectionate one-upmanship between a fiercely strumming Cachao and violinist Federico Britos.
World Premiere. Sponsored by Hotel Rex, Hotel Vitale and Post Street Surgery Center.