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The Metropole Orchestra plays Esquivel

Dutch label Basta Music has long had a fondness for pioneering orchestra leaders, composers and arrangers. The label has released music by such legends as Leroy Shield, Raymond Scott, Les Baxter, Roger Roger, André Popp, Ferde Grofé, Gordon Jenkins, and Russ Garcia. But one name was overlooked. Until now.

Basta proudly announces the release of an album featuring newly recorded versions of music arranged and composed by sophisticated Latin-jazz maestro Juan Garcia Esquivel (1918-2002). Often called the King of Space Age Pop, Esquivel was a visionary perfectionist who controlled every aspect of his wide-screen sound in the studio.

In the late 1950s, Esquivel was renowned for his explosive arrangements and dynamic use of stereo effects. His music featured exotic percussion, wordless vocals (such as ‘pow-pow’ and ‘zu-zu’), shimmering keyboard glissandi, and crystalline piano fingering. On a technical level, his orchestrations made his recordings instantly recognizable. His style reflected his personality: brash, confident, mischievous, sexy.

Unfortunately, Esquivel’s original sheet music arrangements cannot be located. The Metropole Orchestra (a.k.a. Metropole Orkest), based in the Netherlands, commissioned new arrangements based on Esquivel’s RCA Victor recordings. While capturing Esquivel’s idiosyncratic colors and textures, the Metropole arrangements take the maestro’s magic in new directions. The Metropole employs a full string section, which Esquivel rarely used. “Mini Skirt,” one of his most popular tunes, had only been recorded by the composer with a small ensemble. The Metropole recording represents the first time this work has been arranged for full orchestra.

The package, designed by Piet Schreuders, includes liner notes by Irwin Chusid, who helped launch the first Esquivel revival in 1994 by producing the first CD compilations, and who served as Esquivel’s last business manager. The booklet also features a number of rare photos of the maestro from his private collection.

“Perfect Vision: The Esquivel Sound” will be released on June 10, 2013.

Buy Esquivel albums from Amazon.com

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