Tag Archives: flaco jimenez

DC Reviews: Los Cenzontles ~ Carta Jugada

Get back to your roots, gente!

And with Carta Jugada, Los Cenzontles have given us a good way to do that.

Joining up with Los Texmaniacs and Flaco Jimenez, Los Cenzontles (a nahuatl word for mockingbird) have given us an amazing album of standards backed up by some amazing accordion, bajo sexto, guitar, tough bass lines and drums. Simple and to the point.

But it’s the voices of Fabiola Trujillo and Lucina Rodriguez that power this album from start to finish. Starting with the old vals Que Sacrificio and bolero Libro Abierto, backed up by Flaco Jimenez, one gets a good feeling about where this album is going. Throw in another Flaco backed ranchera in the classic Hermosimo Lucero and the title track vals and one knows this is a special album.

While Flaco Jimenez is the foremost ambassador of the accordion, one cannot but place Texmaniac Josh Baca close to the top of that list of premier squeezebox players. And his abilities are evident in my favorite tune on the album, La Traicionera, along with the dexterous bajo playing of his Tio Max Baca.

If one is looking for a huapango, one will find it on this album. Lucina and Eugene Rodriguez provide the vocals on Los Juiles, which includes some amazing rhythms and bajo/guitar playing. The corrido, Nomas Las Mujeres Quedan, is a tune about dueling ranch dynasties and about the women who are left. Finally, the closing tune is another favorite sung by Fabiola and Lucina, the beautiful bolero Una Pagina Mas, about a woman ready to leave the past to move forward in love and life.

The album is up at the different online sites. Get your copy now from Amazon or their Online Store.

About Los Cenzontles

Los Cenzontles is a band, a nonprofit organization, a music academy, a community space for youth and families, and a hub for Latino artists – all working together to amplify our Mexican roots here in the Bay Area and beyond.

We produce original music, videos, and educational tools. We teach classes to hundreds of local youth in traditional Mexican music, dance, and arts and crafts. We host many popular community events throughout the year.

Locally, we are a second home for many families and we are a long-standing leader in the Mexican roots revival here in the United States.

Make a contribution to this organization today.

 

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Los Texmaniacs, Flaco, Augie, and Guitar Johnny Conquer The Heights Theater

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Los Texmaniacs brought with them founding Texas Tornados Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers and guitarist Johnny Nicholas and brought down The Heights Theater on Friday, 12/23/16. With a mix of Tex-Mex Conjunto, Tex-Mex Rock, and a dash of Country music, the sell-out crowd at the recently re-opened theater enjoyed a truly Tex-Mex Holiday concert.

Los Texmaniacs, led by Grammy winner Max Baca, solidified their place as Americana Music stars showing a diverse crowd that their music goes above and beyond what is usually expected from a Tex-Mex outfit.

I arrived early to gauge fan conversations, though. I didn’t know what to expect from the fans. The convos I heard ranged from love for Augie to worshipping of Flaco. And that was from the Anglos in the audience. They did ask:  Who are The Texmaniacs? Some were confused as they recalled Augie and Flaco as being part of The Texas Tornados. Boy, did they learn who The Texmaniacs are.

Truth be told, though, Max Baca was part of The Texas Tornados touring band. Beyond that, he’s considered Flaco Jimenez a musical father, a mentor, and even a teacher, back when Max was a kid. Decades later, Max gets to play mentor and teacher to his 24 year-old nephew Josh Baca who is on track to becoming an accordion legend like Flaco.

And, yes, there was music. The Maniacs’ first set was a short one and totally Tex-Mex. Kicking off with Lucerito and an instrumental of El Paso and San Antonio Rose. The usual Tex-Mex history lesson is always interesting which included an instrumental of Muchachos Alegres. Then came some country with How Can A Beautiful Woman Be So Ugly. Emotions ran high with a beautiful rendition of Cancion Mixteca. But there was also a new cumbia about a panadero. Most impressive was Johnny Nicholas providing rhythm guitar to the conjunto tunes, as well as some rockin’ solos.

The second much longer set brought on Augie Meyers to a loud response from the crowd. The talent who gave us Hey Baby Que Paso gifted us with that tune and so many others from his solo and Tornados career. Who Were You Thinking Of was one of my favorites. Of course, tears also “Flo’d” (for me) when Augie took on Mama Came To Visit Me In Texas, with only him and the piano. Little did I know it was about a Mama visiting her son from the afterlife, which hit me pretty hard this holiday season. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Flaco took the stage. He’s had a rough couple of years after a fall and some back and hip surgery, but his 30 minute set was indeed memorable and hard-driving. His accordion playing through Marina and Viva Seguin was impeccable, but it was a couple of tunes that put Flaco on the “mainstream” scene that got a great response. Dwight Yoakum’s Streets of Bakerfield and The Mavericks’ All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down were just amazing. As Flaco ended his part of the show, he thanked the crowd and then broke into a rendition of Feliz Navidad, on which The Texmaniacs easily joined in. And thanks to Flaco’s son who does so much for his daddy.

The rest of the show was rockin’ with a mix of tunes and genres. Danny Martinez on Drums and Noel Hernandez on Bass provided quite the rhythm section, while Augie Meyers stayed on stage with some improv piano accompaniment to conjunto tunes that seemed just right, especially Mexico Americano. (Max didn’t dedicate it to Trump this time, but by that time the beer seemed to be flowing pretty good amongst the crowd.)

All of this earned Los Texmaniacs, Augie, Flaco, and Johnny multiple standing ovations. And deservedly so.

Every time I leave a Texmaniacs gig I ask myself:  Can they get any better? This was my third time seeing them this year and the answer is a resounding YES! Let’s hope promoters keep bringing them back to Houston. Perhaps as an opener for The Mavericks when they come to town again. (One can dream, right?)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, y’all!

DC Reviews ~ Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca – Legends and Legacies

The good folks at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings continue to invest in nuestra cultura, and that’s a good thing. Accordion King Flaco Jimenez, and Bajo Sexto Master Max Baca have collaborated on a very special production, Legends and Legacies.

SFW40569No doubt, there is a back story to this production as some of these are classic songs once recorded by Flaco’s dad, Santiago Jimenez, Sr. 70 years into his career, Flaco is among the legends of Tex-Mex, much like his father. For Baca, it is an opportunity to take his place as part of a legacy in the Tex-Mex genre having grown up as a part of Flaco’s musical family–even calling him a father figure in his life. And for listeners, we get the opportunity to enjoy some hard-core Tex-Mex conjunto music with some amazing button-acordeon from the legend and some of the most dexterous bajo sexto shredding from Baca.

A few songs are recorded in “fire-side” style–bajo, acordeon, and upright bass, such as the classic Margarita, Margarita, Me Voy Lejos, Mi Primer Amor, Los Amores de Jose, Jardin de las Flores, Morena Morenita, and a favorite, Beer-Drinking Polka.

When you add some drums to the mix, you get some powerful polkas rancheras, like Cada Vez Que Cae La Tarde, El Pesudo, Borradita Diente de Oro (The DC favorite), El Parrandero, the funny Brincando Cercas, and the even funnier La Viejita. La Nueva Zenaida and Ay Te Guacho Cucaracho will definitely be crowd favorites.

Cumbia lovers get the tried and true, La Mucura. The closer is another favorite, Fiesta Alegre.

And yes, in case you weren’t counting, that’s seventeen (17) tracks, which makes this production a lot more awesome than most. Seldom do we get this many classic tracks which are given the musical respect they deserve. Baca’s bajo sexto complements Flaco’s acordeon, and vice-versa. More than anything, it seems this duo is trying to school us on from where it is our music has come because it’s always good to come home to our roots. And to take from the liner notes”:

A common goal of Flaco and Max is to gain respect for their musical legacy beyond their Texas Mexican community while making the point that the roots traditions of all people deserve that same respect. “There’s a space for all kinds of  music,” Flaco says, emphasizing that he respects other musics and the people who carry them on in the space where “les nace” (they are born). He is pleased that his efforts have led people of other cultures to play his music: “There are Japanese, Italian conjuntos. In Paris, too. They play well because they emulate the roots that we have here in San Antonio.”

Rounding out the studio line-up are Flaco’s son, David on the drums, and Texmaniac, Oscar Garcia on the bass.

 

NPR had a great report on the new production last week. Give it a listen. It’s good for those who need to be schooled on Tex-Mex conjunto music.

The new music is available at Itunes and directly from Smithsonian Folkways.