May 27, 2012
Artsquest presents a Luau at the Levitt! Our 22-pc Esquivel big band–-recently named a 2011Downbeat Rising Star Big Band and a "marvelously flexible unit" (Boston Globe)--will come Bethlehem, PA for the first time ever to present the exciting space-age pop sounds of Juan Garcia Esquivel (video). In addition to our headlining concert, custom cocktails and polynesian pop food will be served, vintage fashions will be modeled during the day (along with other activities), and an art gallery featuring the exotica artwork of SHAG will be on display. This show will be free.
ABOUT THE BAND:
"...deliciously demented and entertaining in equal parts." –Wall Street Journal
Led by percussionist, vibraphonist and composer Mr. Ho (Brian O'Neill), Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica is the only 22-piece big band in the world that presents the lost, supersonic, space-age bachelor-pad sounds of Juan Garcia Esquivel live in concert. Esquivel was a studio orchestra arranger in the '50s and '60s who was known for his use of blistering brass, boisterous Latin percussion, wordless vocals and mid-century Hollywood sound. Best known as one of the original exploiters of the stereo (two-channel) sound format, Esquivel was a masterful arranger who's big band manuscripts were lost after his return to Mexico in the 1970s. As a result, no ensembles since Esquivel's own touring days performed his wild big band arrangements until Mr. Ho came along in 2004 and began to transcribe his music back into paper from the original records, reviving his music for fans and introducing it to new generations of listeners.
In 2010, Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica released its debut tribute-to-Esquivel CD, The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel, which kicked off its new Exotica for Modern Living series that Tiki Magazine called "absolute must-haves..." The album received four stars from the Sunday Times London, became a Top CD for 2010 by AllAboutJazz, and is currently playing in Starbucks stores worldwide.
In May 2011, the series continued with the Orchestrotica's third-stream exotica quartet debut, Third River Rangoon, which the Boston Herald called "...serious jazz and chamber-music writing..." and Lucid Culture called "genius."
"…incredible arrangements, musicianship and artistic direction…I’m sure the only thing better than hearing the record would be seeing this group live."–Downbeat