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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

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In Bars & Clubs

Sagittarius Rising funks up Thursdays at Roots Cellar


Thursday nights at Roots Cellar, 1818 N. Hubbard St., you'll find Sagittarius Rising -- a popular montage of music with DJ Marcus Garvey and D.Soto -- starting at 9 p.m.

"It's important to have some kindred spirits in creative endeavors," says DJ Marcus Garvey (Marcus Doucette) in reference to his musical brother and co-host D.Soto (David Soto). Together they are responsible for the sounds emanating from the Roots Cellar in Brewers' Hill.

And it's not just Thursday nights that have been taking off at the Roots Cellar -- the lower level of the Roots Restaurant. Soto and Doucette have put together a lineup of DJs and live bands including a jumping Wednesday night reggae party with DJs Avets, Prince Ruff, Selector Max and Eltron and live bands ranging from jazz to rock on Saturdays.

Doucette has been DJing since 1999 when friend -- and fellow DJ -- One-F (Jeff Bauman, owner of Milwaukee's Wobblyhead Records) persuaded him to take to the decks with the old-school dub he was into at the time. Although never intending to DJ for a career, he was hooked and has since DJed almost every spot on the East and near South Sides.

Doucette's taste quickly developed and expanded. "I was branching into all styles," he says. "Just following modern music to its cultural roots and digging it deeper and then back again." Along the way his crates got packed with Latin, Brazilian, hip-hop, Afro beat, psychedelica, rare groove, dancehall and reggae roots.

He brings this realm of styles to Sagittarius Rising where the crowd creates the vibe. "We can play a wide variety of styles on any given night, chill it out or meet the needs of a dance floor," says Doucette. "My collection of music is like being in an elevator that can go in any direction even though some may seem to defy the rules."

Fellow musical adventurer D.Soto is no less diverse. Soto started his career while living in Korea when a DJ failed to show up to the opening of a nightclub and Soto found himself behind the decks. Soon he was DJing at a trendy club in west Seoul playing drum and bass, electronic music and even the banned hip-hop records he got from the owner of the club.

During his time in Asia, Soto -- a classically trained saxophonist -- decided that production was his passion and headed to London where he hit the ground with a résumé and list of every studio in town. He soon found work at Milo Music, the largest independent studio in London.

Working with the Chemical Brothers and Roy Ayers and learning the ropes at the all-analogue Milo Studios provided inspiration and the know-how to start producing his own music. DJing at London nightclubs gave him the opportunity to test out his new tracks, and he produced and released two house singles independently.

"To me DJing is a service, it is our job to take someone out of their normal context of the music they listen to every day and provide them with a new and exciting sound," says Soto. "I draw no boundaries on sound. I like to play everything from jazz to African to funk to blues to good pop to ambient to dub."

Influenced by (Talkin' Loud's) Gilles Peterson and Latin club DJs Kenny Dope and Little Louie Vega, Soto brings a wide range of music and experience to his sets. "I have always loved and played jazz and especially Latin sounds intrigue me," he says. Since returning to Milwaukee he's been working and hanging out at Club Havana and the now defunct El Babalu's.

Soto stays rooted in production, currently working on projects for Eltron, The Rusty Ps and Tom Noble. He uses his DJ nights to find out what rocks the crowd. "I just like to see people having a good time and apply that feeling to the music I write."

With the vast experience and exotic taste of DJ Marcus Garvey and D.Soto, Sagittarius Rising is a night unlike any other in this town, maybe anywhere. Where else can you sip your drinks and listen to Brazilian lounge and Latin salsa, nod your head to new hip-hop instrumentals and dub classics, and end the night shakin' it to the grooves of two funky DJs and their one world sound?

Current faves at Sagittarius Rising with comments from DJ Marcus Garvey:

MF Doom -- "Special Herbs" Vols. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Funky, dance-friendly hip-hop instrumentals.

Diplo -- Intelligent, funky, Miami-bounce style hip-hop, super hot.

Malik Flavors produced by Madlib "Ugly Beauty" -- Rawwww, bossa-jazz-funkbeat, tribal in a sweaty funk way.

Gilles Peterson -- Worldwide: varied, funky, soulful, danceable. Gilles is my personal favorite DJ. This album is precisely why; it hits every pocket.

For more info, please call (414) 374-8480.

Talkbacks

OMCreader | June 14, 2006 at 3:05 p.m. (report)

llysa said: the article was great just wondered more about Doucette and about the local woven into the global. llysa

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