Monday, May 14, 2012

Danny Yanez


I've been getting into Donna's late accordionist Danny Yanez lately. My dad would sometimes talk about him, but I never listened to Yanez until last week. According to Yanez's son, he played guitar with Esteban Jordan and he considered Jordan his favorite accordionist. He recorded with Jordan, most memorably on a Little Joe y La Familia album. So Yanez is totally influenced by Jordan's style, both accordion and vocals, as is evident by this song. Check out the accordion runs from 1:33 to 2:30, that would totally fit right into a Jordan song.


Later in life, Yanez was usually found playing at Christian churches and using his great skills there. Check out how jazzy he gets in this intro to a Christian song.



What is it about the Valley that has produced so many great accordionists? Sometimes, we all (including myself) take for granted how many great accordionist the Valley has produced. Yanez and Caballero are clearly in the mold of Jordan, but they are high caliber accordionists too that bring their own personal touches to their work. Kind of like how Eddie Gilbert is totally in the mold of Jerry Lawler or how early David Gordon Green was clearly aping Terrence Malick, but Gilbert and Green were still top talents doing their own takes on their heroes.

Earlier this year, an online buddy of minute by the name of Karlos passed me a rare Esteban Jordan song called "Gozalo Mulata". It sounds so funky, with elements of Latin jazz and typical Jordan-style sound effects. Accomplished Austin accordionist Susan Torres described the song online as sounding like something out of "a soundtrack from like a 1970's private eye movie", which is a great comparison by Susan. Well this video that follows is Danny Yanez changing the song into a Christian song for his church. It's pretty much the exact same song, except where Jordan would say "Mulata", Yanez says "Cristo" (the name to this version is "Gozate Con Cristo"). From what I'm told, this sort of thing is common in the church music scene. If I had seen a lesser musician do this with a Jordan song, I would be rolling my eyes and not writing about a blog post about it. But Yanez was so fantastic at the squeezebox (along with being so open about being inspired by Jordan) that he deserves a lot of love for his music skills (whether you're religious or not). So in the end, I think this video is pretty awesome and if you dig accordion music, you'll dig it too. According to the text that accompanies this video, this was his last concert and the final time he played his accordion at a church service.



Danny was a great talent, I really regret not getting into him when he was still alive and playing at local churches. He passed away on February 2011. My buddy Jonathan Lee Salinas tells me he got the opportunity to see him five times and two of my uncles played with Yanez in the 1970's in los bailes grandes. I wish I would have listened to my dad earlier and gone to listen to Yanez. At some point, I want to write something special and nice for Danny Yanez. If you want to see more videos of Yanez, you can find them here

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

My Father-in-law, in Brownsville, gave me some of Danny's Christian cassette tapes about 5 yrs ago. I still have them in my truck. But, I used to play those very often. You are right, Danny was an incredible talent on the accordion. He could preach as well. I had the opportunity to see him (and his wife) at Paulino Bernal's church in Brownsville July 2009. Thanks for the story. I did not know that he had passed. My condolences to his family and friends.

Robert
South Bend, Indiana

Eduardo said...

Thank you for your comment Robert. Here is an obituary that details his passing. It's sad that he died young.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/themonitor/obituary.aspx?n=danny-yanez&pid=148432974

Anonymous said...

does anyone know where I can buy Danny yanez music?

Danny Yanez Jr said...

Thank you all for honoring my dad with this beautiful words! He was one amazing man; he was humble and loving to everyone around him! He loved people and his music so much. He was never arrogant nor cocky; he was a Music Master in mentoring musicians! He always inspired musicians around him. His music can be obtained through my office at 956-588-5602. Danny Yanez Jr. God bless you...

Danny Yanez Jr said...

Thank you Eduardo for your story! I'll be praying you write more articles about my dad.

Anonymous said...

Warms my heart to read this. Thank you all. - Daniella Yanez, daughter of Danny Yanez Sr.

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