Cachao actually recently died, just over a month ago, making SFIFF’s selection of this movie even more appropriate.
The film is mostly set in our fair city with locations such as Bimbo’s and Cigar Bar & Grill. It’s a collection of concert footage (from Bimbo’s) and interviews with Cachao, various friends and historians.
I knew nothing about Cachao before this film; I didn’t even know the name. This documentary was effective to its goal, in one sense at least: I now think that Cachao was a pretty important figure in Afro-Cuban music. He invented the mambo and was an innovator in many ways.
The concert footage and most of the interviews are filmed very well, with nice angles and colors. At
68 minutes long, the film gave a good overview and background to Cachao and the music without getting too bogged down. As someone who’s highly interested in the music of a film like this, I appreciated that every tune was named on screen at the beginning of it–no need to search through the credits and try to match up that favorite song.
My only complaint with the film was the live music mix. It was muddy in general and the bass was mixed too low. For a movie about a bass player, the bass should be noticeable in the mix. Also, the timbales and piano were too loud in the mix.
Overall, I’d recommend the film, especially if you have an interest in Afro-Cuban music.
The film is showing on Monday 4/28 at 6:30p @ Kabuki and Friday 5/2 at 1:15p @ Kabuki.