ARTIST: Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica
TITLE: The Unforgettable Sounds Of Esquivel
REVIEW: Mexican composer-bandleader Juan Garcia Esquivel is one of the pioneers of the musical style we now call “exotica” or “space age pop.” The dozen LPs he released in the 50’s and 60’s added extreme stereo effects, bizarrely complex arrangements and esoteric instruments to the middle-of-the-road big-band pop that was in currency – the result sounded something like Mantovani on acid. Esquivel’s musical manuscripts have all been lost, so Brian “Mr. Ho” O’Neill has painstakingly transcribed them for a 23-piece orchestra featuring some of Boston’s best jazz and classical musicians. They need all of their chops because this stuff is wickedly complicated, but they roar through the arrangements and make Esquivel’s decidedly peculiar ideas come alive once again. This record is a pleasure from start to finish; it will delight lounge-music fans, hopefully convert a few new ones as well, and leave you grinning from ear to ear.
REVIEWER: Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS: 2 4 8