The 43rd of Jon Turney’s weekly selections is one great bassist’s homage to another.
Hard to believe the original Buena Vista Social Club album is 25 years old. And after the first super-hit there followed a string of albums from people in the band – Rubén González is a favourite there along with this one from Orlando Lopez.
This track, with its opening statement from the bass, made an indelible impression. Lopez was the bass player on all the Buena Vista recordings, but this was his first album under his own name after a lifetime as boss of the bass in Cuba.
And a brilliant thing it is. It’s a mix of styles to say the least, but the bass holds it all together effortlessly. As on this track, the leader plays with such authority it sounds as if the music had no choice but to coalesce around him. It’s a simpler affair than most of the others – just bass, two percussionists and sax, and the nearest thing to a bass feature.
It has that wonderful bass swagger, and picks up the riff from Mingus’ Haitian Fight Song half way through. There’s a gripping sax solo interwoven with the other three from Rafael “Jimmy” Jenks, about whom I know nothing more. But knowing he did this is enough. Only 20 years old, this one, but still generating instant sunshine every time.