His pioneering use of stereo recording was the stuff of legend. On occasion, as in today’s selection, he would feature two entire bands recording simultaneously in separate studios to afford a rather stunning effect (especially if one’s stereo speakers are wide apart) with the chorus and bass briskly alternating sides.
Sometimes referred to as the Busby Berkley of Cocktail Music, but more often called the King of Space Age Pop, Mexican born Juan Garcia Esquivel, aka Esquivel, first saw the light of day in 1918 in Tampico, Tamaulipas, and moved with his family to México City where he studied at the National Autonomous University of México.
Easily the leading proponent of that late’50s-early ‘60s quirky instrumental Space Age Bachelor Pad genre, Esquivel had a highly idiosyncratic musical style (including the use of nonsense vocals such as “pow” and “zu-zu”) that combined Latin, jazz and lounge music. Meticulously arranged and composed by Esquivel himself, there was never room for improvisation.
Such perfectionism extended to Esquivel concerts, which pioneered the use of elaborate light shows. In the early ‘60s he and his orchestra often opened for Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas.
Intriguingly the last album released in his lifetime (he died in 2002 at the age of 83) was “See It In Sound” in 1998, which was actually recorded in 1960 but unreleased by the record company as it wasn’t seen as commercially viable. An especially fascinating track is a bar-hopping version of “Brazil” played as a musical soundscape with the band playing different renditions of the song at each bar. A YouTube URL of the song can be found at the end of this post.
As mentioned, today’s selection, “Mucha Muchaca” features two entire bands recording simultaneously in separate studios to create extraordinary stereo effects in the age of Hi-Fi. First featured on Esquivel’s 1962 album, Latin-Esque, and later included in a 1994 compilation of his work (which, in our case, would invariably get “shouted down” if one had the audacity to try and sneak it onto the car’s CD player during the occasional family outing), “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music”.
LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION IN STEREO – Saturday 14 July
Oh hello Muchacha
No, no me Muchacho
You know like me Tarzan
Oh you Muchacho
Wow too much of a girl