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Jimmy Gonzalez of Grupo Mazz talks about the status of Tejano music

By Sara Sneath
Jan. 29, 2014 at 4:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 28, 2014 at 7:29 p.m.

Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz will play at Victoria Community Center on Friday, Jan. 31.

If you go

•  WHAT: Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz and Jay Perez will perform at the 2014 Great Tejano Dance.

• WHEN: Friday; doors open at 7 p.m., and the dance is 8 p.m. to midnight.

• WHERE: Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St

• COST: $30

Evolution of Tejano

Homer Lopez, general manager at Majic Tejano 95.9 FM in Victoria, said Tejano music has not gone away but changed over time.

"It has had different sounds," Lopez said.

Tejano has gone through four different trends. What created Tejano was conjunto, he said. Later, a bit of a jazz sound took over the movement, which involved more horns.

Mazz is part of the third wave of Tejano music, which brought keyboards to the scene.

The newest trend has been a norteno sound, which has more accordions, he said.

While Jimmy Gonzales y Grupo Mazz and Jay Perez will play in Victoria on Friday, Lopez said there are many other Tejano bands worth checking out, including the following five:

• Signo

• La Mafia

• Intocable

• Los Palominos

• David Lee Garza

Jimmy Gonzalez still remembers his first show with Grupo Mazz.

It was in 1983 in San Antonio at Rosedale Park.

"People were all singing our songs. It was a 'wow' moment," Gonzalez said of the memory.

Grupo Mazz and the Tejano movement hit their peak in the '80s. The Mexican-American genre, which was born in Texas, lost momentum in the mid-'90s.

Radio stations devoted to the music, such as KQQK Tejano 106.5 FM and Super Tejano 108.5 FM, are no longer on the air.

But Gonzalez said Tejano music is not dead.

"I wouldn't say that it's gone," Gonzalez said. "It's still there; it's just not publicized as much."

He said the music artists who sing cumbia over a hip-hop beat and claim to be a part of the Tejano scene are misguided.

"Tejano music is not only about cumbia. It's our culture," Gonzalez said. "You've got to stick with your culture, with the accordion and bajo sexto."

He said part of the culture of the Tejano genre is experiencing the music live. The artists who mix cumbia and hip-hop are doing so with tracks, he said.

"Nobody is creating it live. If you want to see a performance, you're going to see it with tracks, not with a live sound," Gonzalez said.

He said the reason Grupo Mazz has had listeners for more than 30 years is the band's continued ability to put on a great live show.

Gonzalez is on a 35th anniversary tour with his band. The band played in Dallas with a crowd of more than 3,000 people, Gonzalez said. The band also had success in Houston.

Victoria is also on the tour.

"We have a lot of friends in Victoria," he said. "I love that the people there show so much love and respect. We are almost sold out."

Concertgoers can expect music from the group's new CD, "Forever Mazz," as well as some throwback music from the band.

He said to keep Tejano music alive, the older generations need to encourage youth to listen to the music.

"We urge for the older people to please teach your children about Tejano music," Gonzalez said. "Kids whose parents listen to Tejano music know the lyrics."

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