BY EDUARDO MARTINEZ
This week, I am going to recommend four regional gems from local great musicians to check out on YouTube.
>> ”Midnight Blues” by Esteban Jordan: This is a really great video of Esteban Jordan performing his wild “Midnight Blues” piece at the 1990 edition of the Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio. “Midnight Blues” is one of Jordan’s most experimental pieces, first released in a Discos RyN release of “Las Coronelas” (later released by Arhoolie Records under the album title “El Corrido de Jhonny El Pachuco”). This is really cool, so if you haven’t seen this and dig Jordan, check it out. Jordan was an incredible live musician and here is a chance to see him at his best.
>> “Dime Si Soy Un Tonto” by Romance: Some Donna Tejano music for y’all for this weekend, with Mario Montes Jr. leading the way. Montes Jr. is the son of accordionist Mario Montes Sr., from Los Donneños. They had this LP at Valley Vinyl a while back. Donna produced so many great musicians over the years, from Tejano to conjunto to norteño, and Romance was one of the standout acts of that glory days era of Tejano music.
>> “Solo Se Vive Una Vez” by Cali Carranza: Feliz cumpleaños to the late Cali Carranza. It was just his birthday on March 29 and thought I would have his represented on this list this week. He was born and raised in Pharr, and would usually play at the biannual Jamaicas at St. Anne’s Church in my neighborhood, on the corner of Juarez Avenue and Fir Avenue. He had a storied career in Tejano music, and with the exception of “Pideme La Luna,” this is arguably his most famous release. Carranza would pass away in 2012, after a long battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. One of the great Tejano musicians of all time, especially if you are from Pharr.
>> Danny Yanez and his accordion: As previously mentioned in the Romance entry, there were so many musicians that came out of Donna, and here is another one: the late Danny Yanez, from Danny Yanez y Los Chavos. Yanez briefly played with Esteban Jordan, and was very much influenced by him and his style of accordion playing. Later in life, he became an accordionist-evangelist, playing Christian conjunto-music. In this video, you can see him do his thing on the accordion, which is an interesting mix of his own personal style and a bit of Jordan-influence moments. He was known as “The Holy Ghost Accordion Player,” and passed away in 2011.