I suppose this isn't especially on-topic, but as I wrote this up for another list I figured there may well be some aesthetic link between this cheesy bandleader and the big guy from Birmingham.
I hadn't heard any of his stuff before I got the BarNone CD, and I was half prepared for it to turn out like some quaint cocktail music that no-one would have paid any musical attention to if it weren't for a sudden nostalgic yearning for boomerang formica, but this stuff's amazing. I tend to think of Martin Denny, quirkily creative as he is, being fairly polite in his tinkly soundscapes, but as much of an overused cliche as this is, Esquivel really did take chances, really sounds like he's -playing-, having fun, making discoveries, throwing out the rules, bringing in a completely incongruous pedal steel figure or jazzy-harpsichord to take the music in directions the original writers would never have dreamed of taking them in a million years.
To briefly sound as hipper-than-thou as [other list guy], Esquivel sort of hits me the way the recent exhibition of Thrift Store Paintings at the WPA did. You've probably heard of this show, which the curator collected from years of thrift-hunting for paintings that displayed some kind of aesthetic pathology. And the first reaction one has to a painting like the one of a mountain lion (some kind of wild cat I can't quite identify) is laughter at the artist's ineptitude in describing the animal in perfectly normal perspective except for the mouth which is just barely a quarter inch off where it should be. But that slightly off-putting and humorous quarter inch becomes jarring and even frightening, and I swear the damn thing was responsible for a nightmare I had the next morning.
It's a skewed comparison to make I suppose, it must be on acct of this fuzzy headache I got; and it's unfair to parallell Esquivel with an untrained painter. But that little detail that wouldn't really make any sense in an ordinary painting transforms it, and those jarring instrumental flourishes Esquivel is full of does the same for what might have been ordinary , err, "cocktail music". Albeit the end result is a lot happier :)
I guess I may as well put out a call for anyone who might have his original albums?? Please? Will??