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Dancing to live music in rockin Stockton
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The 209 All Stars is one of the premiere party bands and will play this Saturday night at Garlic Brothers. - photo by Photo Contributed

Luis Martinez has played in a few bands in Stockton.

One of the most notables groups was Bee Tee Xpress, which plays a variety of dance music, from Top 40 and Rock, to R&B and Soul.

“We were the first to play at Garlic Brothers,” he said on Thursday.

Located at 6629 Embarcadero Drive – from Interstate 5, take the Benjamin Holt Drive exit and go west to the marina – Garlic Brothers (209.474.6585/ welcomes folks to come in with their dancing shoes to the tune of live music. On tap are a couple of local bands, “The Mundaze” and “Little Square Box.”

Tonight, the 209 All Stars, the Central Valley’s premiere party band, will play at Garlic Brothers beginning at 8:30. There’s no cover charge.

Martinez’s days with Bee Tee Xpress featured Sean Lopez and Robert Mapp, who once performed with the Temptations. He incorporated Latin, Salsa and Cumbia to the group’s play list.

They also played at Shadow Oaks (recently closed) and Ciao Bella.

Ciao Bella (209.474.2100/ is at 5644 N. Pershing Ave. – from Interstate 5, take the March Lane exit and go east, turn left of Pershing Avenue, passing Delta College – and features live music on most weekends. Several notable bands, including the Mike Torres Band, Victor and Company, Latin Magic, Latin Soul and The Marvin Zeller Band, have played there.

A composer, vocalist, guitarist and percussionist, Martinez spent the past four months in San Antonio, working on music with his cousin’s band, Artie V. Y Grupo Suave.

He’s currently back in Stockton, performing with his group, Luis Martinez and Romantic Trio.

Martinez listed Jose Feliciano as one of his big influences. His first experience playing with a band began in 1976 with “Los Pecadores,” his brother-in-law Miguel Munoz’s band.

He later formed his own band, “Los Momentos” and, later, “The Kayum All-Stars.”

Martinez, in addition, has played at the AVE on the Mile (209.462.5283/2333 Pacific Ave.) and was looking at the Mile Wine Company (209.465.9463/2113 Pacific Ave.) prior to moving to San Antonio.

 Other places in Stockton featuring live music and dancing include:

• FATS GRILL AND BAR: Address: 4555 N. Pershing Ave.; Phone: 209.473.3281.

• WHISKEY BARREL TAVERN: Address: 151 W. Adler St.; Phone: 209.938.9192.

• CASA FLORES: Address: 3201 Benjamin Holt Dr.; Phone: 209.451.1116.

• CHITIVA’S SALSA AND SPORTS BAR: Address: 445 W. Weber Ave.; Phone: 209.941.8605.