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Mars Williams – Mars Williams Presents An Ayler Xmas Vol. 4: Chicago vs. NYC

Saxophonist Mars Williams is most famous as a member of The Psychedelic Furs, but has proven his jazz bona fides with Peter Brötzmann and Ken Vandermark, and while guiding Liquid Soul and Hal Russell's NRG Ensemble, to name just a few. Williams also leads the Albert Ayler tribute band Witches & Devils, and out of their holiday concerts grew a unique tradition. One listen and you'll hear that, as odd as that concept may seem, it's brilliantly effective, with the disparate melodies working together in their common projection of joy and celebration -- which is painfully needed at this point in time amidst the current climate.

For the last four years, along with the annual Chicago performances, Williams brough "An Ayler Xmas", to select cities in the US & Europe, featuring local improvisers from each host city. This particular album showcases two specific group performances from the 2019 touring in Chicago and NYC. These recordings highlight the unique personalities of the individual players Williams convenes, using some of the same material as jumping off points, each group creates an entirely unique sound that pays tribute to Ayler, the spirit of xmas and joyous improvisatio

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Side A: Chicago

MARS WILLIAMS – SAX, TOY INSTRUMENTS
JOSH BERMAN – CORNET
JIM BAKER – PIANO, VIOLA, ARP SYNTH
KENT KESSLER – BASS
BRIAN SANDSTROM – BASS, GUITAR, TRUMPET
STEVE HUNT – DRUMS

Side B: New York

MARS WILLIAMS - SAX, TOY INSTRUMENTS
STEVE SWELL - TROMBONE
HILLIARD GREENE - BASS
CHRIS CORSANO - DRUMS
NELS CLINE - GUITAR
FRED LONBERG-HOLM - CELLO

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Released Nov 2020, Astral Spirits