In a late 1960s television interview with the pioneer lounge music artist, host Bob Wilkins started it by simply stating, “There is only one Esquivel.” Juan Garcia Esquivel, or simply Esquivel, considered as one of the most recognized proponent of a stylish genre of instrumental musicality in the 1950s and 1960s and which later came to be known as lounge music, has a distinct and innovative way of playing his piano and performing with his orchestra, which made him earned such titles as being the “King of Space Age Pop” or the “Busby Berkeley of Cocktail Music.”
But there might be more to his childish playfulness with the piano. Many believed that while there is a “pop to the perfection” of Esquivel’s style of lounge music, the playful exuberance also exhibits a “genius to the game.”
A story has been told that, at the tender age of 6, Esquivel – to the astonishment of his family – walked over to the pianoforte and started bringing the keys to life with his then small yet talented fingers. And when we add the passionate Mexican blood running through his veins, whoala! Esquivel lounge music!
With Esquivel, expect the perfectionist performing as if he is still a child playing with his favorite toy. Thus, every now and then, we will hear nonsensical utterances (such as “zu-zu” and “pow”), whistling, and the idiosyncratic combination of instruments and arrangements which distinguish his lounge music as “Esquivel-esque” (borrowing from his own teaseful term “Latin Esque”).
In fact, in addition to his reputation as a lounge music artist in the Nevada strip (complete with dazzling light shows) during the 1960s, he also composed and arranged music for a children’s show on television in Mexico (yes, like “Sesame Street” and “Electric Company”) called “Burbujas.” Well, what can we expect from the music genius whose quirky instrumental pop playing became to be known as “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music.” Talk about synesthesia, Esquivel’s the “e.e. cummings” of lounge music!
So, if ever you manage to get hold of and play one of Esquivel’s music album, and you seem to hear Chinese bells, mariachi, whistles and nonsensical syllables, don’t worry. It’s not your music player or your i-pod. It’s just the one and only lounge music genius – Juan Garcia Esquivel – playfully running his fingers over the pop and perfection of his own piano solos and orchestrating his unparalleled genius for a stylish music filled with exotica and space age pop. In short, easy listening. Lounge music lives!