The Sights and Sounds of Esquivel!
Juan Garcia Esquivel was the happiest discovery of the silly, short-lived, 90s lounge craze. A long-lost master of what became known as space-age bachelor-pad music, the Mexican bandleader specialized in giddy, sweetly weird instrumentals that tweaked the conventions of bland, easy-listening pop. On Sights and Sounds, recorded in 1974 as a promotional tool for a Chicago restaurant, Esquivel and his peppy crew could be a cocktail combo from a parallel dimension. As a pair of female vocalists soar and swoop nonsensicallyPow! Pow! Pow! and Zoo-zah are typical interjectionspercussionists make a merry clatter and Esquivel showers the offbeat arrangements with rippling piano notes. Radiating optimism, he embodies a heartfelt love of sound that transcends the campy trappings; even the moody dance number La Mantilla is joyous. And if the hyperactive take on Rhapsody in Blue doesnt raise a smile, youre beyond help.