Flaco Jimenez | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Flaco Jimenez 

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Texas accordionist Flaco Jimenez has been playing and recording a potent form of Mexican conjunto music for about 40 years. Around the time Jimenez was born, his father, the original Flaco, was a key figure in the evolution of conjunto from a polite and folksy idiom into a more boisterous and lyrical one. Flaco the younger has taken the music further, mucking it up rhythmically and flirting with rock 'n' roll. After decades of relative obscurity outside his Chicano commercial base, he was given access to rock audiences in the 1970s by people like Ry Cooder and Doug Sahm. Now, as a solo artist and with the fabulous Texas Tornados (a Tex-Mex supergroup that also features Sahm, Augie Meyers, and Freddie Fender), he's that rare thing: a fully functional chunk of pop-music history. A lot of his music's in Spanish, and some of the stuff he's recorded will make rock fans cringe (I'm thinking particularly of his duet with Stephen Stills on "Change Partners"). But most open-minded music fans will find a lot to appreciate as he trips lightly between furious traditionalism and reverberating rock 'n' roll, pausing only for funny novelty touches and this or that moment of sheer fabulousness (a duet with Dwight Yoakam on Warren Zevon's hop-head ballad "Carmelita," a fabulous collaboration with the Mavericks' Raul Malo on the new "Seguro Que Hell Yes"). This may be one of those shows where you can go to pay your respects--and dance your butt off too. Church Key open. Saturday, 9 PM, Coronet Theatre, 817 Chicago, Evanston; 708-733-0030 or 559-1212.

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