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Rockin' and Restless

Trio has refined its calypso-salsa sound for weekly gigs at Cha Cha Cha.


Trespassers William, who perform Fridays at Cha Cha Cha, can play a variety of styles. But in keeping with the flavor of the Encino restaurant, they wind up doing a lot of reggae, calypso, mambo, samba and salsa. Which is just fine with them.

"We're just restless musicians, always looking for something new to do," said guitarist Kirk Margo. "We all did the disco thing, we all did funk.

"This music has a bit of an Afro-Caribbean feel to it, but none of us are of Latin descent."

Indeed. The band consists of London-born Margo, California bassist Marty Buttwinick and Paris-reared drummer Nicholas De Gaulejac. All three are music professionals, and besides doing freelance studio work, they teach music during the day. In addition to performing in the above-mentioned styles, these guys can play just about anything--jazz, blues, R&B, as well as some originals. And play it all pretty well.

There's no room to hide in a trio. It's like running in a three-legged race--it takes skill, cooperation and a disregard for personal safety. These guys have it down.

"I don't think there's another trio doing salsa and calypso," Margo said. "We have a pretty complete sound, considering we're a trio."

The band has been together about a year. Its name was inspired by one of A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories, Margo's bedtime favorites while growing up in London.

Trespassers William perform Fridays at Cha Cha Cha, 17499 Ventura Blvd., Encino; (818) 789-3600. No cover.

Changes--This is a story from our "The longer you take to put it together, the longer it will take for it to fall apart" department.

Spyder Blue is a guitar-bass duo that's been doing the local coffeehouse circuit for almost nine years. The two have developed a loyal local following. They've always wanted a drummer, but they were waiting for the right person to come along.

So David Fortin and Bruce Gaims have finally taken the plunge and gotten themselves Steve Brooks.

The new trio will play at the Jazzy Cafe in Glendora on April 25 and at Coffee Junction in Tarzana on May 9.

Dylan--When I first heard that a band was going to perform Bob Dylan's entire 1975 album, "Blood on the Tracks," live in a local club, I was intrigued.

Elliott Marx of the impromptu band Simulacra told me it was just a thrown-together thing that he and his friends were going to do.

"We did it at the club two months ago after only two rehearsals, and it sounded like we only had two rehearsals," Marx said. "It's a very laid-back affair."

Nevertheless, I was not to be deterred. I could deal with a missed chord here, a forgotten line there. After all, it was Dylan. A few mistakes would only add to the mood.

But after hearing Simulacra on Friday night at Common Grounds in Northridge, I have to admit--well, Marx was right. It was thrown together. Really thrown together.

I suspect the source of my original enthusiasm and my ultimate disappointment was the material itself.

Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" was released in early 1975. Ten years earlier, he had revolutionized rock music with his "Bringing It All Back Home" album, in which he attempted to merge modern poetry with rock music. Today it's hard to imagine that Dylan was literally booed off the stage several times in 1965 by his early fans--folk-music purists--when he first used a rock band with a drummer and electric instruments.

By the early 1970s, however, Dylan's star had faded. During the first years of the decade, he released a series of mostly unimpressive albums. But "Blood on the Tracks" turned out to be one of Dylan's most enduring albums, and his best-selling one. Its standout tracks include "Tangled Up in Blue," "Idiot Wind," "Buckets of Rain" and "You're a Big Girl Now."

I can't say I wasn't warned. Marx told me his musical focus was on his real band, Rasmalai, named after the tasty Indian dessert. Marx was even nice enough to send me a recipe along with a demo tape. The band performs regularly on the local club and coffeehouse circuit.

Rasmalai usually performs all original material, which Marx described as "psychedelic, show-tune rock." Marx and company make a better account of themselves on their cassette, but they're a band with more potential than polish.

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