The Sights and Sounds of Esquivel!

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

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


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.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate