The Sights and Sounds of Esquivel!

Esquivel! <i>Bar None</i>.

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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 nonsensically—“Pow! Pow! Pow!” and “Zoo-zah” are typical interjections—percussionists 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” doesn’t raise a smile, you’re beyond help.

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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