I was in Sound On Sound studio recording “Man From San Juan”. The album was produced by Mike Martinez. The particular song was a piece of poetry with a Bass playing a kind of “call and response” with the poetry. It was kind of a Bee-Bop thing. Cachao, a world famous acoustic bass player, was in the booth with his back to us and to our side. We could not see his hands or the booth door.
The piece begins and Cachao is playing spontaneous individual notes in between and under the poetry. It sounds great and is perfect with the piece. Then the poetry piece continues and we continue to hear the notes, but we are also hearing Arco playing too. Long bow strokes are sounding, as well as the individual notes. It is pretty unusual but things continue and sound great. Cachao is now playing the individual notes with a “hammer” technique with his left hand and bowing with his right. Two separate and distinct lines are sounding. Mike has started giggling at the console.
Then all of a sudden there is a high rhythm line that sounds like the sides of the Timbales. I jump up from my chair next to Mike, trying to get a look at who might have wandered into the Bass Booth where Cachao is playing. I can’t see as Cachao’s body and the angle to the booth, have blocked my view. I’m about to run into the booth and Mike grabs my arm. He is now giggling out loud and grinning like a cat. Mike says “that’s Cachao!”
It appears Cachao is now adding another rhythm line with the buttons on his sleeve, in a Timbale pattern. Cachao is playing 3 musical parts on the bass, all at the same time. Never even heard of that before.