Grammy Award winner who was a virtuoso of the descarga and who was known as the inventor of the mambo.
He played music for silent films on his double bass at the age of nine and was playing contrabass in his teenage years with the Orquesta Filarmónica de La Habana.
In 1957 he gathered what would be known as the first descarga, a Cuban jam session, which reinvented popular Afro-Cuban music.
He was married to Ester Buenaventura López.
Lopez played music on the soundtrack for The Birdcage, which starred Dan Futterman.