Home LifestyleArt and Culture Juan García Esquivel: The forgotten musical visionary from Mexico

Juan García Esquivel: The forgotten musical visionary from Mexico

by Sofia Navarro
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Born in 1918 in Tamaulipas, Mexico, Juan García Esquivel, also recognized as Esquivel, is a name that might have faded into obscurity. His family relocated to Mexico City, where he pursued electronic engineering studies at the National Polytechnic Institute.

At the age of 16, back in 1934, he commenced his professional journey at radio station XEW, where he added live musical touches to programs. From there, he showcased his imagination, skill, and knack for improvisation.

As the late 1930s approached, he formed his own orchestra and swiftly gained recognition for his revolutionary approach to music, characterized by distinct sounds, elaborate orchestrations, and an unconventional array of instruments.

The 1950s marked his prolific composition for radio, film, and television. He penned songs for artists like Silvia Pinal and María Victoria. His bolero “Mil Besos” secured his inaugural gold record. He furthered his solo career by releasing the album “Las tandas de Juan García Esquivel.”

By 1955, he ventured to the United States under RCA’s invitation, producing his renowned album “Other Worlds, Other Sounds.” In collaboration with RCA, he amassed 13 albums. Additionally, he orchestrated music for TV series such as “The Flintstones,” “The Bionic Woman,” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.”

His compositions resonated with the futuristic mindset of the time, when society envisioned a future replete with spacecraft, flying cars, and robotic-operated supersonic trains.

Reaching the pinnacle of his career, Esquivel received an invitation from none other than Frank Sinatra to open his performances at the Stardust Hotel. This partnership flourished for 14 years, marked by fame and financial success.

However, the late 1970s brought allegations of money laundering against the Stardust’s owners, including Sinatra, leading to an abrupt end to Esquivel’s show.

In 1979, he returned to Mexico as a relatively unknown figure, collaborating only with Enrique Segoviano, the director of “Odisea Burbujas,” in the early 1980s.

In 1994, an accident confined Juan García Esquivel to a bed for his final decade, rendering him immobile. He breathed his last in 2002 at his residence in Jiutepec, Morelos.

A Lasting Heritage

  • His name appeared thrice as a Grammy nominee for Best Orchestra from 1957 to 1959.
  • In musical circles, he is celebrated as the pioneer of Lounge Music.
  • The 1990s brought the widespread popularity of lounge music, solidifying Esquivel’s reputation as an avant-garde artist on a global scale.
  • Influential figures such as Bono from the iconic U2 band, renowned filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, and even Matt Groening, the creator of “The Simpsons,” acknowledge the impact of Esquivel’s work on their own creations.
  • His musical legacy lives on; a testament to this is the theme song of the series “Better Call Saul,” composed by him.

TYT Newsroom

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