Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca – Flaco and Max: Legends and Legacies (2014)

Theirs is a meeting across the generations, and a bold illustration of the way time, ultimately, surrenders to tradition — and of the utter agelessness of the rich musical folkway of conjunto.

Jimenez, master of the three-row button accordion, first met Baca — a bajo sexto guitarist nearly three decades his junior — when the youngster was just seven. Twenty years later, they began a collaborative relationship that has already produced signature moments together as part of the Texas Tornadoes, and a shared spot as sidemen on the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge sessions. Jimenez’s inimitable style also clearly inspired Baca’s band Los Texmaniacs, who earned a Grammy in 2009.

With Flaco and Max: Legends and Legacies, out now via Smithsonian Folkways, they go deeper, however, pulling out a polka (“Each Time the Afternoon Wanes”) originally composed by Jimenez’s father — a seminal figure in the growth of conjunto music in the midpoint of the last century — and another track (“I’m Going Far Away”) taught to Baca by his dad, who was also an accomplished band leader. Combined here with heartfelt Jimenez originals like “Joyful Fiesta,” they again work as a tie between the past with the present. To complete the circle, Jimenez’s son David also contributed to Flaco and Max: Legends and Legacies.

Along the way, they also make the case for the deeper complexities of this music, from the dreamy waltz of “I’m Going Far Away,” the undulating cumbia of “The Clay Jug,” to the winking humor of “Beer Drinking Polka” and “See You Later, Alligator.” It all forms a rich, unforgettable tapestry of memory, passion, joy and familial connectiveness.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.