Esquivel – 4 Corners Of The World – Reviewed in 2011

More Exotica

More Esquivel


A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This RCA Living Stereo LP has an A+ to A++ side two. The sound is three-dimensional and transparent, but could use a bit more top. This album tends to have a bit of variation from track to track, but this one gets more right than most. Side one, unfortunately, is not quite up to Hot Stamper status. 

This is an excellent sounding record from 1958!

Wikipedia’s Entry for Esquivel

Esquivel is considered the king of a style of late 1950s-early 1960s quirky instrumental pop known today as Lounge music. Esquivel’s musical style was highly idiosyncratic, and although elements sound like his contemporaries, many stylistic traits distinguished his music and made it instantly recognizable, including exotic percussion, wordless vocals, virtuoso piano runs, and exaggerated dynamic shifts. He used many jazz-like elements; however, other than his piano solos, there is no improvisation, and the works are tightly, meticulously arranged by Esquivel himself, who considered himself a perfectionist as a composer, performer, and recording artist.

His orchestration tended toward the very lush, employing novel instrumental combinations, such as Chinese bells, mariachi bands, whistling, and numerous percussion instrument, which he blended with an orchestra, a mixed chorus, and his own heavily-ornamented piano style. The chorus was often called upon to sing only nonsense syllables, most famously “zu-zu” and “pow!” A survey of Esquivel’s recordings reveals a fondness for glissandi, sometimes on a half-valved trumpet, sometimes on a kettle drum, but most frequently on pitched percussion instruments and slide guitars.

Esquivel’s use of stereo recording was legendary, occasionally featuring two bands recording simultaneously in separate studios, such as on his album Latin-Esque (1962). The song “Mucha Muchacha” makes particularly mind-bending use of the separation, with the chorus and brass rapidly alternating stereo sides.


Side Two

Tico Tico 
April in Portugal 
In a Persian Market 
Torna a Sorrento 
El Carro Del Sol 
Cielito Lindo