Mazz is a Grammy Award–winning Tejano band originating from Brownsville, Texas. Formed in the early to mid-1970s by Jimmy González and Joe López, the group emerged as one of the most innovative Tejano crossover bands after adding synthesizer to combine traditional Tex-Mex, Mexican music, and popular Latin rhythms.
In 1978, Mazz released the self-titled album, Mazz, featuring the hit single, "Comprendo Mi Amor". During the following decades, Grupo Mazz became a successful band on the regional Mexican scene, climbing the charts with hits "Laura Ya No Vive Aqui" and "No Te Olvidaré," among other songs. Lopez, with his suave voice, and Gonzalez, with his winning songwriting and producing talents, formed separate groups in 1998: Joe Lopez y La Nueva Imagen Mazz and Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz. Lopez also teamed up with Selena's brother, on the 2004 album A.B. Quintanilla III Presents Joe Lopez.
Since the separation, Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz has enjoyed plenty of success. The group won Best Tejano Album four times at the Latin Grammy Awards from 2001-2004. The group also won Best Tejano Album at the American Grammy Awards in 2004. In 2006, the two planned a reunion tour and release of a new album, Joe Lopez, Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz: The Last Dance Mazz Live Reunion.
Not long after, Lopez was found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage relative at his Rancho Viejo home in April 2004. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison, but because he will serve the sentences concurrently rather than consecutively, he is currently serving a twenty-year sentence. His supporters believe that he was wrongfully convicted of rape in 2006 as a result of false allegations made by his relative in a failed extortion attempt. He continues to fight his conviction. His case summary has been received by two innocence projects and by President Obama.
In 2012, the district attorney who led the prosecution, Armando Villalobos, was indicted on multiple charges including racketeering, extortion, and bribery. His first court date was on August 30, 2012. On May 24, 2013, Villalobos was found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and five counts of extortion. During the Joe Lopez trial, Villalobos tried to get Joe to accept a plea bargain, but Joe refused on the basis of innocence, making it impossible for Villalobos to manipulate and profit by the case as he did with other cases. Although the corrupt practices of Villalobos encompass the time of Joe's trial, his attorney, Tim Hootman of Houston TX, is still encountering opposition to his efforts to obtain evidence that may exonerate his client, as reported by Mark Reagan in The Brownsville Herald on June 25, 2013, 'Joe Lopez May Retrieve Trial Evidence'. Visiting judge Federico G. Hinojosa will rule on the matter of retrieving DNA evidence and other relevant records. Many believe that these developments may lead to the exoneration of Lopez. Fans may write to Joe Lopez at the following address: JOSE MANUEL LOPEZ, 1399866, RAMSEY UNIT 1, E-2-9, 1100 FM 655, ROSHARON, TX 77583. Joe's website- WWW.FREEJOELOPEZ.COM.
The music of Joe Lopez, including the songs he recorded when he was the lead singer with Grupo Mazz, continues to get airplay at Tejano stations around the world today along with that of Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz.
The group's name was taken from a spelling variation of the Spanish word mas (meaning "more") and spelled similar to that of late 70s band Kiss. Original band leaders Joe Lopez and Jimmy Gonzalez formed Mazz in Brownsville, Texas after already being a part of the former band The Bel-Airs. The group was discovered by Texas music promoter Luis Silva and was originally signed under the Cara Records label. In 1978 they released a self-titled album and began promoting the single Comprendo Mi Amor (Understand My Love). Their second album, Mas Mazz came later that same year. There are many variations as to how the group Mazz formed, this is one of them. It is thought that Juan Ignacio Murillo was one of the founders of Mazz. He is seldom given credit publicly except by fellow musicians in a close knit group. The original members or as said here the "first lineup" would leave Mazz and start a new group called The Force.
The band started on shaky ground as they received most response from California for their music rather than in their home state of Texas. Because of this the band began focusing on their now trademark sound of incorporating synthesizer sounds with various Latin music styles popular in the south Texas region such as rancheras, cumbias and ballads. Gonzalez said, "We were actually more successful in California. We did rock, and our sound was more international. People asked us if we were from Mexico." Hard to believe now, but people even said they couldn't dance to Mazz's music. The group realized it would to have to rediscover Tejano music. Their first hit, Laura Ya No Vive Aquí, (Laura Doesn't Live Here Anymore) managed to capture their desired audience as planned. Soon after, their scheduled concert appearances drew more audience numbers and record sales improved. Their first live album, Command Performance, was released in the 1980s. Large numbers of screaming fans can be heard in the background, showing how much the signature Mazz sound had caught on to audiences. Their record sales soon began to rival that of fellow Tejano group La Mafia, a feature almost unheard of at the time.
Many music awards followed, not only for their high record sales, but also for their contributions to the start of the Tejano music boom. Both Sony Records and EMI Latin later took interest in the band and signed the group to their individual labels. Mazz's albums No Te Olvidare (which received a Grammy ), Para Nuestra Gente, Una Noche Juntos, and Mazz Romanticos Que Nunca have all gone platinum. Mazz then became members of Freddie Records, owned by established Tejano singer Freddie Martinez, which helped promote new and already established Tejano music talents such as Ramón Ayala, Elida Reyna, and Michael Salgado.
Mazz was known to be in a competitive rivalry with fellow Tejano group La Mafia. The beginning of this rivalry is unknown but it is known that La Mafia and Mazz would insult each other and were known to compete in who had the better live show. La Mafia was praised with stardom in the beginnings of their career standing alone as the Tejano supergroup but when Grupo Mazz changed its sound from Spanish diso to Tejano they were a powerhouse of a group themselves and at the time were the only group fit to compete with La Mafia.
In 1998 both lead singers Joe Lopez and Jimmy Gonzalez split the band, deciding to form their own groups. The following year Joe formed Joe Lopez y La Nueva Imagen Mazz while Jimmy formed Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz. For legal reasons, Lopez later would have to change the name simply to "La Nueva Imagen" instead of "La Nueva Imagen Mazz". Lopez y La Nueva Imagen issued the album Mazz Fuerte Que Nunca, a mix of danceable cumbias and Tejano tracks, which featured the hit single Atrapado. Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz went on to release Quien Iba a Pensar.
- Joe Lopez, vocals
- Jimmy Gonzales, guitar and backup vocals
- Juan Murillo, bass guitar and backup vocals
- Hector Augusto Flores, keyboards
- Adolfo Garcia, drums
- Joe Lopez, lead vocals
- Jimmy Gonzalez, vocals and guitar
- Tommy Gonzalez, conga and sax
- Homero Esquivel, accordion
- Mario Gonzalez, bass guitar
- Brando Mireles, keyboard
- Adolfo Garcia, drums
- Ricardo Barron, percussion
- Rebecca Valadez, vocals