Today in Texas History – December 18

JIMENEZ, SANTIAGO, SR. | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)

From the Annals of the Squeezebox – In 1984, Conjunto muscian Santiago Jimenez Sr. passed in San Antonio at the age of 71.  Jimenez, a native of San Antonio,  began playing accordion when he was 8. His father, Patricio, had been an acclaimed accordionist in South Texas.  SJS’s first record in 1936 was “Dices Pescao”/”Dispensa el Arrempujon” (1936) and he was an immediate success in the world of Mexican-American music.   He was the first to incorporate the tololoche, a Tejano contrabass that became prevalent in the conjunto music of the 1940s.  Drawing on Czech, Moravian and other ethnic music, Jimenez created Conjunto polk such as “La Piedrera” and “Viva Seguin” (recorded in 1942) which became well-known regional hits.  Jimenez did not tour much – in fact, he performed every weekend at El Gaucho in San Antonio for more than a decade – usually to standing room only crowds.  Jimenez was also known for using a two-row button accordion even  abd never transitioned to more modern instruments.  In the late 1960s he moved to Dallas and worked as a school janitor, but he moved back to San Antonio in 1977 and started playing music again. His sons Flaco and Santiago Jimenez Jr. are also well-known accordion players who have carried on their father’s tradition.

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