A bold departure from the classic Cuban warbling by the oldsters of the Buena Vista Social Club, this latest BVSC project is bound to welcome a whole new crowd. Cachaíto
, the surprising solo debut from the gang's estimable bass player (the grandnephew of mambo architect Cachao
), presents a largely instrumental album of serious Cuban groove that knows few boundaries. Dub reggae effects, turntables, nostalgic charanga
violins, rumba rhythms, and more come together around the rock-solid rhythm and brawny tone of Lopez's bass. Fans of the antique atmosphere of the BVSC recordings won't be completely lost at sea; producer Nick Gold retains the wonderfully resonant sound of bass and conga (by collaborator Miguel "Angá" Diaz) even as he tweaks them with reverb effects. No, the real appreciators will be a younger set already tuned in to the sonic anachronisms of DJ culture and future jazz. Big ears will thrill to the incredibly tasty guitar of Manuel Galbán, Los Zafiros
' musical director and something of a Latin Duane Eddy; the burbling Hammond of reggae organist Bigga Morrisson; tenor sax from JB sideman Pee Wee Ellis; and timbales crackle by BVSC mainstay Amadito Valdez. Even the riskiest move -- introducing beat box and scratching by French DJ Dee Nasty on "Cachaíto in Laboratory" -- comes off well. Handily the most adventurous release in the wonderful BVSC family tree, the witty, sexy, and atmospheric Cachaíto
truly proves that while sounds and styles may evolve, the master musicians of Cuba's heyday are more than able to keep pace with the times.