Bassist Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez has appeared on every Buena Vista Social Club recording, holding down the bottom end -- until now. On his solo debut, "Cachaito," sexagenarian Lopez outstrips the BVSC's vinegary nostalgia by blending old and new sounds from Cuba, the Caribbean Rim and beyond, as if determined to prove that Cuban music hasn't been frozen behind a blockade since the '60s.
Manuel Galbán of '60s group Los Zafiros drapes strands of shimmering, reverbed guitar across the tunes, while organist Bigga Morrison and Nick Gold's dubwise production add Jamaican spice. DJ Dee Nasty helps teleport Lopez to the boogie-down Bronx for the hip-hop track "Cachaito in Laboratory," while "Tumbao No. 5 (Para Charlie Mingus)" finds the leader bringing Charles Mingus' "Haitian Fight Song" to its spiritual home turf and swinging it hard. Poised, passionate and simply stunning, "Cachaito" is a genuine modern diaspora masterpiece.