Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Los Lobos: Kiko @ 20 (x3)

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
In the twenty years since the release of Kiko, Los Lobos has made albums equally brilliant—The Town and The City (Mammoth, 2006) for instance—but it has never made one better. This eighth album from the East Los Angeles band, in fact, stands as a template for all subsequent Los Lobos albums (hear 2011's Tin Can Trust) in its seamless blend of eclectic musical styles, evocative lyrics, creative production and the savvy, seasoned musicianship.The album is a unified song cycle which has few equals in the annals of rock, but even so, the release of three separate pieces (in a variety of combinations) might seem overkill except to the devoted aficionado of the band. Still, anyone just being introduced to Los Lobos via this title may discover the two CDs and DVD/Blu-Ray as essential to their appreciation of the title and the superlative band that continues to bring it to life. The absence of musician credits on the live pieces, except during the scroll on the DVD, is an avoidable oversight on an otherwise fully comprehensive recognition of the accomplishment that is Kiko.

Los Lobos—Kiko 20th Anniversary EditionLos Lobos

Kiko: 20th Anniversary Edition

Shout! Factory

2012

Thanks in part to Tchad Blake's original mastering (augmented by the rework of Dave McNair), the sound of this remastered disc is deep, rich and full, accommodating the low resonant tones of bassist Conrad Lozano's instrument, extra percussion on tracks like the stunning opener "Dream in Blue" and the textural contrast provided by keyboardist Steve Berlin's work. And that's not to mention his sax lines on that tune as well as the small touches such as multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer David Hidalgo's accordion on the title track. Guitarist/vocalist/composer Cesar Rosas provides effective changes of pace, not just penning rootsy tunes like "That Train Don't Stop Here No More," but singing in a tenor voice, slightly higher, though no less soulful in its own way, than Hidalgo's. And the latter's lead guitar work on tracks like "Wake Up Dolores" wholly transcends both his blues (Albert King) and rock (Jimi Hendrix) influences.

Los Lobos—Kiko Live CDLos Lobos

Kiko Live

Shout! Factory

2012

To an even greater extent than on the original recording, the dream-like quality of these songs, as Los Lobos played them live in 2006, is wholly enveloping, particularly as the vividly cinematic likes of "Two Janes," remains juxtaposed with direct emotional expression like "Whiskey Train" and "Short Side of Nothin.'" Throughout the performance in San Diego, Lobos is less interested in replicating the original recording to the note (though there's no denying the quintet is ultra-tight), than in reconnecting with the feelings that arose when writing and recording this music to begin with. Los Lobos itself seems wholly caught up in this rarefied state of mind during the course of the concert. The expanded remaster of Kiko builds upon the revelatory inclusion of demos and additional live takes recorded for NPR included as bonus cuts, while during this House of Blues appearance, the fivesome, augmented by assertive young drummer Cougar Estrada, similarly contrasts acoustic and electric instruments. It's a versatile approach that sounds perfectly natural, and effectively reflects Lobos' balance of traditional and contemporary approaches.

Los Lobos—Kiko Live DVD Los Lobos

Kiko Live DVD/Blu-ray

Shout! Factory

2012

The sum effect, as captured on the DVD (or Blu-ray), is absolutely stunning, especially when opting to for the latter configuration's concert footage, uninterrupted by interview segments. Having forsaken the drum stool for his spot center stage, guitarist/vocalist/ composer Louis Perez' intellect simultaneously inspires and sews together the otherwise disparate elements at work within Kiko live as well as in the studio (and, as he recounts it during his interviews, the early conceptual stages of the album). The inclusion of encore pieces complete the presentation as it happened, but in a wholly unconventional sequence that accurately represents the group's respect for its roots as the foundation of its own singular style: Rosas performs "Carabina 30-30" solo with the horn section that appeared for "Rio de Tenampa," Perez returns to his original seat at the drums for "Volver Volver," and "La Bamba" appears in its traditional form. The explication of the roots of Richie Valens' (and Lobos') single mainstream success supplies fascinating historical perspective, but perhaps no less so than further interviews with band members (largely from Lozano, who has the lowest public profile in the group) that illuminate the gestation, creation and fulfillment of Kiko, not to mention that of the band itself. It thus becomes clear how the bond that has grown between the group transcends the musical unit but also acts as its foundation, the resulting relationship imparting a humanity to its best music, such as Kiko, that makes it all that much more affecting.

Tracks and Personnel

Kiko: 20th Anniversary Edition

Tracks: Dream in Blue; Wake Up Dolores; Angels with Dirty Faces; That Train Don't Stop Here; Kiko and the Lavender Moon; Saint Behind the Glass; Reva's House; When the Circus Comes; Arizona Skies; Short Side of Nothing; Two Janes; Wicked Rain; Whiskey Trail; Just a Man; Peace; Rio de Tenampa; Whiskey Trail (studio demo); Rio de Tenampa (studio demo); Peace (live); Arizona Skies/Borinquen Patria Mia (live); Kiko and the Lavendar Moon (live).

Personnel: Steve Berlin: tenor, baritone and soprano saxophone, flute, melodic, harmonica, organ, piano, synthesizer, percussion; David Hidalgo: guitars, accordion, violin, banjo, piano, percussion, vocals; Conrad R. Lozano: Fender 5-string Jazz bass and 4-string Precision bass, Godin fretless bass, guitarrón, background vocals; Louie Perez: drums, vocals, guitars, percussion, couch and phone; Cesar Rosas: electric and acoustic guitars, vocals; Pete Thomas: drums; Victor Bisetti: drums (15, 16), percussion; Fermin Herrera: Veracruz harp (6); Alex Acuña: percussion; Gary Mallaber: drums (2); Mitchell Froom and his House of Keyboards La Chilapeña brass band.

Kiko Live (CD)

Tracks: Dream in Blue; Wake Up Dolores; Angels with Dirty Faces; That Train Don't Stop Here; Kiko and the Lavender Moon; Saint Behind the Glass; Reva's House; When the Circus Comes; Arizona Skies; Short Side of Nothing; Two Janes; Wicked Rain; Whiskey Trail; Just a Man; Peace; Rio de Tenampa.

Personnel: David Hidalgo: guitar, vocals, accordion; Conrad R. Lozano: bass, guitarrón, vocals, Louis Pérez: guitar, percussion; Cesar Rosas: guitar, vocals; Steve Berlin: keyboard, saxophone; Cougar Estrada: drums, percussion. Guests: David Hidalgo Jr: drums; Angel Abundez: harp; Hugo Arroyo: tuba; Jorge Cruz: clarinet; Hector Espinoza: clarinet; Tom Fuglestad: trumpet; Cristian Rodriguez: tarolas; Eugene Rodriguez: tambora.

Kiko Live (DVD)

Tracks: Dream in Blue; Wake Up Dolores; Angels with Dirty Faces; That Train Don't Stop Here; Kiko and the Lavender Moon; Saint Behind the Glass; Reva's House; When the Circus Comes; Arizona Skies; Short Side of Nothing; Two Janes; Wicked Rain; Whiskey Trail; Just a Man; Peace; Rio de Tenampa. Bonus Encore Performances: Carabina 30-30; Volver, Volver; La Bamba. Additional Band Interviews. Vignettes: Hi-Fi Low-Fi ; The Story of La Bamba; The Music Reveals Itself. Slide Show.

Personnel: David Hidalgo: guitar, vocals, accordion; Conrad R. Lozano: Bass, guitarrón, vocals, Louis Pérez: guitar, percussion; Cesar Rosas: guitar, vocals; Steve Berlin: keyboard, saxophone; Cougar Estrada: drums, percussion. Guests: David Hidalgo Jr: drums; Angel Abundez: harp; Hugo Arroyo: tuba; Jorge Cruz: clarinet; Hector Espinoza: clarinet; Tom Fuglestad: trumpet; Cristian Rodriguez: tarolas; Eugene Rodriguez: tambora.

Concert (with embedded interview footage): 107 mins; Concert (without interview footage): 83 min; Encores: 14 mins. Vignettes: 9 mins. Slide Show: 4 mins. Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and Dolby Digital 5. 1 Surround.

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May24Fri
Jamie McLean Band
The Blue Note Grill
Durham, NC
$10 - 10
Jun7Fri
Los Lobos
Infinity Music Hall and Bistro
Norfolk, CT
Jun9Sun
Los Lobos
Gateway City Arts
Holyoke, MA
Jul8Mon
Los Lobos
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver, CO
Jul20Sat
Los Lobos
Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival
Winthrop, WA
Aug10Sat
Los Lobos
Mountain Winery
Saratoga, CA
Aug30Fri
Los Lobos
E.J. Thomas Hall
Akron, OH

Related Articles

Read 3x3: Piano Trios, vol. V Multiple Reviews
3x3: Piano Trios, vol. V
By Geno Thackara
May 18, 2019
Read Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery: Masters At Work Multiple Reviews
Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery: Masters At Work
By Doug Collette
May 17, 2019
Read The Sounds of Saxophones Multiple Reviews
The Sounds of Saxophones
By Jerome Wilson
April 26, 2019
Read Alex Chilton: Roots In The Sky Multiple Reviews
Alex Chilton: Roots In The Sky
By Doug Collette
April 20, 2019
Read Piano in Solitude Multiple Reviews
Piano in Solitude
By Geno Thackara
April 14, 2019
Read Graham Parker: Sparks Keep Flying! Multiple Reviews
Graham Parker: Sparks Keep Flying!
By Doug Collette
April 13, 2019