Esquivel – Infinity In Sound, Vol. 2

More Esquivel

More Recordings in Living Stereo

  • Infinity In Sound, Vol. 2 makes its Hot Stamper debut on this original RCA pressing with KILLER Living Stereo sound 
  • This Living Stereo pressing is spacious, lively and positively dripping with ambience – here is the Tubey Magical Stereoscopic presentation these kinds of recordings are known for
  • 4 stars: “This may be the Esquivel album that has it all: his signature style and sound, some experimentation (whistling), and an even mix of Latin and non-Latin standards.”
  • If you’re a fan of Juan Garcia Esquivel, and what audiophile wouldn’t be?, this Top Exotica/Easy Listening Title from 1961 belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1961 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

This vintage Living Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What The Best Sides Of Infinity In Sound, Vol. 2 Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1961
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Vintage Living Stereo Recordings – What to Listen For

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most pressings from the ’50s and ’60s and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich. (Full sound is especially critical to the horns; any blare, leanness or squawk ruins some of the fun, certainly at the louder levels the record should be playing at.)

Which brings up a point that needs making. The tonality of this record is correct when it is playing loud. The trumpets do not get harsh at loud volumes the way they will on, say, a Chicago record. The timbre of the instruments is correct when loud, which means that it was mixed loud to sound correct when loud.

The frequency extremes (on the best copies) are not boosted in any way. When you play this record quietly, the bottom and top will disappear (due to the way the ear handles quieter sounds as described by the Fletcher-Munson curve).

Most records (like most audiophile stereos) are designed to sound correct at moderate levels. Not this album. It wants you to turn it up. Then, and only then, will everything sound completely right from top to bottom.

What We’re Listening For On Infinity In Sound, Vol. 2

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Jalousie (Jealousy)
Time On My Hands
Bye Bye Blues
Baía
Who’s Sorry Now?
Anna (El Negro Zumbon)

Side Two

Espańa Cańi
Sentimental Journey
Cherokee
Lullaby Of Birdland
La Bamba
Limehouse Blues

AMG 4 Star Review

Infinity in Sound Vol. 2 builds on the strength of the first volume and earlier successes. Two tracks feature whistling, one of which is the beautiful, exotic Latin tune “Baia.” Other standouts include “Anna (El Negro Zumbon),” “Who’s Sorry Now,” and “Limehouse Blues.” This may be the Esquivel album that has it all: his signature style and sound, some experimentation (whistling), and an even mix of Latin and non-Latin standards. It may be the most representative of Esquivel’s U.S. releases, although not the greatest.

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