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Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica: The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel [Digipak]

Track List

>Night and Day
>Take the "A" Train
>Boulevard of Broken Dreams, The
>Music Makers
>Sentimental Journey
>Mini Skirt
>Let's Dance
>Dancing in the Dark
>Street Scene

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

"For those who have been reading this column for a while, you may have noticed that I have a soft spot in my heart for the high art of musical camp, kitsch and humor. The Unforgettable Sounds Of Esquivel has it all - in spades - wrapped in the tight precision and over-the-top grand scale of Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica (try saying that three times fast). The Orchestrotica is a 23-piece big band, complete with outrageous horns, cheesy (and I mean that in a good way) backing vocals, multiple wild percussionists, accordion, organ, bass, guitar and even steel guitar. The group bills itself as the world's only ensemble dedicated to the space-age pop music of Juan Garcia Esquivel, a futuristic arranger in the '50s and '60s, whose arrangements had been lost. The Orchestrotica is the lovechild of Brian "Mr. Ho" O'Neill, a multi-percussionist from the Boston area. For the last five years, he has been painstakingly recreating Esquivel's lost arrangements from recordings. To play them, he pulls in an all-star cast of New England's best musicians such as Yaure Muniz (from the Afro-Cuban All-Star Big Band), Paul Perfetti and Ken Pope (from the Boston Pops), Chris Beaudry (from the Rhode Island and Rochester Philharmonics) and Russ Gershon (from Either/Orchestra). They launch into Esquivel's finest work, such as "Andalucia," "Night And Day," "Take The 'A' Train" and "Sentimental Journey," done as they had never been done before.The Unforgettable Sounds Of Esquivel makes you smile, laugh and want to do the cha cha - and then you start realize the incredible arrangements, musicianship and artistic direction underlying the set. I'm sure the only thing better than hearing the record would be seeing this group live. I haven't had the chance, but if you're in New England on Jan. 14, there will be a CD release party at the YMCA Theater in Cambridge, Mass. The full Orchestrotica will be headlining. And most of us will be stuck somewhere else, jealous." -DownBeat


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