Mexican lounge-music auteur Juan Garcia Esquivel's flamboyant arrangements of standards such as "The Breeze and I (Andalucia)", "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "Dancing in the Dark" on this reissued 1962 album are like ripe fruit, flavour bursting out of every bar.
Their constantly shifting soundscapes explore all reaches of the timbral scale, from blaring orchestral stabs to scuttling solo xylophone, lowering brass to silky harp glissandi. For "Street Scene", he whips up a big, brash Sweet Smell of Success-style arrangement of stalking piano, trumpet, noirish brass and bongos; for "The Breeze and I", a fantasia of rippling piano, swooning background chorus and Latin percussion.
It's the sheer, unstoppable brio that's most impressive about Esquivel: even on something as mellow and pastoral as "Canadian Sunset", with its woodwind, harp, vibes and lap steel, he's always hunting for the tune's hidden rhythmic undertow, cutting it up with syncopated flurries of piano. Genius at work.
Pick of the album:'The Breeze and I', 'Canadian Sunset', 'Street Scene', 'One For My Baby'