Jimenez, accordion virtuoso, has taken traditional conjunto
music and turned it into a contemporary favorite. He
has won three Grammys and has a career that has spanned four
decades. His talents have been utilized on recordings
by the likes of Dwight Yoakum, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt,
Emmylou Harris, Los Lobos, The Mavericks, John Hiatt, Bryan
Ferry and The Rolling Stones (Voodoo Lounge) just to name
in San Antonio, Texas as Leonardo Jimenez on March 11, 1939,
Flaco learned to play the accordion by watching his father,
Santiago Jimenez Sr., who is one of conjunto music's pioneers
of the 1930's. By age seven, Flaco was performing alongside
his father before live audiences. At the age of eighteen,
he recorded his first album as a member of the group "Los
Caporales." It was soon afterwards that he was given
his father's nickname, "Flaco" (which means skinny
pop music journey began when he teamed up with Doug Sahm,
previously of the Sir Douglas Quintet, and went to New York
to jam with Bob Dylan and Dr. John. Flaco played for
Anglo audiences for the first time with Peter Rowen and traveled
the world with Ry Cooder. He received international
acclaim for his contributions to Cooder's landmark album,
"Chicken Skin Music."
won his first grammy in 1986 for the remake of his father's
song, "Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio." He then
teamed up with Freddie Fender, Doug Sahm and Augie Myers,
to form the super group, "The Texas Tornadoes" and
won another Grammy in 1990. Flaco won his third Grammy
in 1996 for "Best Mexican-American Performance."
He has appeared on numerous television shows, including; "Late
Night with David Letterman," "Austin City Limits,"
"Primetime Country" and "MTV News."
Flaco's most memorable career performances, include; the "1996
Inaugural Ball," "Peter Gabriel's WOMAD Festival"
in Yokohama, Japan, the "Montreux Jazz Festival"
in Montreux, Switzerland, "Central Park" in New
York and the "San Antonio Symphony" in 1998.
of 1998, I had the pleasure and privilege to work with Flaco
Jimenez in Paris, France at the Cite de la Musique.
Flaco's band was on the bill with my father, Lalo Guerrero.
I was there as lead guitarist and musical director of my dad's
band. The two bands did a finale of three songs together
for which I rehearsed with Flaco the previous afternoon.
I would sing him a part and he'd play it back note for note.
At one point in our band's rehearsal, we were playing a bluesy
song and Flaco walked in and joined us playing blues on the
accordion. He jammed with us on a few songs and showed
why he's a legend. We also did a radio show together,
where he accompanied me on one of my songs, "Oh Maria."
At the concert, Flaco's band invited me to join them on their
finale, "La Bamba" and "Twist and Shout."
The two bands stayed at the same hotel and hung out for the
few days we were in Paris. We had a great time. Flaco
Jimenez is one of the most unique instrumentalists of our
time. Check out one of his many solo CDs or his work
with the Texas Tornados. You'll have a great time.
In January of 2003, I had the pleasure of working with Flaco
Jimenez once again, this time on Ry Cooder's "Chavez
Ravine" CD. I spent a lot of time talking with
Flaco at the studio and especially at the hotel where my dad,
Flaco, and I were staying in Santa Monica, CA. We had
a great conversation at the restaurant/bar at the top of hotel
after the first day's session. I asked Flaco what were
some of his most memorable musical experiences. He told
me stories about recording with the Rolling Stones on their
"Voodoo Lounge" album, jamming with Bob Dylan at
one of Dylan's concerts, and recording with Elvis' legendary
back up singers, The Jordanaires. On the Ry Cooder sessions,
Flaco backed my dad on the latest version of my dad's song
"Barrio Viejo." Ry Cooder's "Chavez Ravine"
CD was released in 2005. In July of the same year, Ry Cooder hosted a CD release party for "Chavez
Ravine" in East Los Angeles. Flaco Jimenez was
there, along with just about everyone who participated in
the project. By this time, my dad had passed away.
Flaco sincerely gave me his condolences on my dad's passing,
which I appreciated very much. After a hug in honor
of my dad, I asked Flaco to tell a friend I was with about
his session with the Rolling Stones. Flaco said, "The
Stones are great, Elvis was great, but your dad was the man."
I think he meant it.