Friday, 15 April 2011

Classic Song 29 - Esquivel "Cherokee"

Let's talk about the inventor of 'space age pop' 
or 'loungecore', as it was called in the mid 90s.

His name was Juan Esquivel.

Back in '95, when I was working at Jungle Music,
my producer forwarded me an mp3 of a piece of
music that our ad client liked, as a template or 
'temp track' for the commercial we were to
score music to, by the end of that day.

He said "it's an example of 'loungecore', by a
now-obscure 50s/60s artist named Esquivel",
whose career was enjoying a resurgence with
the youthful dance and club crowd, thanks to
the rerelease of his late 50s and early 60s gems.

I clicked on the mp3 'play' tab and... OH MY GOD!
The sounds that bathed my senses were unlike anything
I'd heard before or since. The orchestration that Esquivel
had devised was highly idiosyncratic, featuring very tightly 
played arrangements for a melange of seemingly unrelated 
instruments, including slide guitar, kettle drums, wordless
vocal hooks or phrases, exotic percussion, as well as
Esquivel's masterful grand piano performances.

To me, the mind blowing aspect was this: in the 50s, 
when the audio standard was definitely mono (monaural),
or single track mixdown and mastering, Esquivel recorded
and released numerous LPs in gloriously, previously unheard
of and unimaginable stereo. His methodology was prescient:
he was known to contract two separate orchestras, and have
them situated in two, completely discrete recording studios,
playing from a score that had been split into two submaster
scores that, when played by the two distinct orchestras
and recorded individually, then subsequently mixed
together into one assembled master, yielded music
that was technically and musically light years
ahead of his 50s/60s contemporaries.

Even now, a half century after most of his classic 
LPs were released on an unprepared world, Juan
Esquivel's musical endeavours continue to
entertain, challenge and inspire.

Check out Esquivel and his unique, multi-orchestral  
take on the Ray Noble chestnut, "Cherokee",
immediately after spying yours truly in my 
most reflective Buck Lake disguise.

Mozz the Elder

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like Mancini meets Spike Jones - the bongo era, oh man - what did Les Paul find in Pandora's Box? One thing is for certain Cherokee will never be the same. Esquivel certainly rearranged that classic - fairly stood it on it's head and let the feathers fly.
    Don't get me wrong, I find most of the 'experimental' post Big Band stuff fascinating. From Stan Kenton to Martin Denny, the whole gamut of "stereo sound adventure" bringing the family closer together around the ol' Hi-Fi is endlessly entertaining. Thanks