Esquivel See It In Sound

Juan Carlos Esquivel was one of the oddest in that odd lot that comprise musicians. Often lumped with the lounge crowd, he had more in common with Carl Stalling than Henry Mancini, and was sometimes referred to as the Mexican Duke Ellington. The latter was a much more accurate characterisation since his music had little of the post-ironic campy qualities of Les Baxter and Xavier Cugat. And it was most definitely not easy listening. See It In Sound was recorded in 1960 and rejected by RCA because they were scared people wouldn’t get it — I’m not sure they will now. (Esquivel’s lack of commercial success couldn’t have helped much either.) The music is, not surprisingly, full of Latin rhythms and is under laid with gobs of audio verité sound effects, giving it a definite avante garde feel. It’s like walking down a busy Third World urban street that’s overrun with jungle animals. Esquivel’s trademark ultra-wide stereo imaging makes it a particular treat for headphone listening. (House Of Hits)