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Mars Williams presents:
An Ayler Xmas VOL. 2

CD RELEASE and TOUR 2018

Mars Williams presents: An Ayler Xmas
The Music of Albert Ayler & Songs of Christmas

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For many years Witches & Devils, the long-running Albert Ayler tribute band led by saxophonist Mars Williams, have existed mostly as an excuse to get together and perform an annual Chicago holiday concert.

For these memorable concerts, Williams merges a variety of Christmas songs with the indelible repertoire of free-jazz titan Ayler, who brought a scalding intensity to tunes rooted in gospel and spirituals. It may sound silly, but the performances are no joke, and they produce a seriously joyful noise. The band tackles warhorses like “O Tannenbaum” and “12 Days of Christmas” in the same smoldering fashion as their take on Ayler: the rhythm section bubbles and generates a kind of levitating intensity during the wonderfully expressive, multilinear theme statements, while the horns state familiar melodies in loose cries and the embellished lines of each player pull apart and coalesce in a naturalistic frenzy. Williams designs clever medleys that appropriate the pulse and feel of particular Ayler tunes as the band rips through a greatest-hits lineup of holiday tracks.

 - Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

CD RELEASE NOV. 1, 2018

Live recordings taken from “An Ayler Xmas” tour concerts at Porgy & Bess, Vienna, AU and the Hungry Brain, Chicago, will be co-released on Williams’ Soul What Records label and ESP-Disk’.
Available on CD or digital download via Bandcamp, espdisk.com and Forced Exposure.

Recording features:
CHICAGO BAND = Witches & Devils:
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Josh Berman – Cornet
Fred Lonberg-holm - Cello
Jim Baker – Piano, Viola, Arp Synth
Kent Kessler – Bass
Brian Sandstrom – Bass, Guitar, Trumpet
Steve Hunt – Drums

VIENNA BAND
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Thomas Berghammer - Trumpet
Hermann Stangassinger - Bass 
Didi Kern – Drums, Percussion
Christof Kurzmann – lloopp, vocals

AN AYLER XMAS TOUR 2018

In support of “An Ayler Xmas Vol. 2” CD, Williams will bring “An Ayler Xmas”, to select cities in the US & Europe, featuring local improvisers from each host city.

TOUR DATES 2018:

Nov. 23 – Milwaukee, WI
Nov. 26 – Kingston, NY
Nov. 27 – NYC
Nov. 28 – New Orleans
Nov. 30 – Rockford, IL
Dec.  1  – Chicago
Dec.  2  – Chicago
Dec. 7  – Berlin
Dec.   8  – Weikersheim
Dec.  9  – Krakow
Dec.  11  – Tours, France
Dec.  12  – Paris
Dec.  14  – Lisbon
Dec. 15 – Coimbra, PT
Dec.  16  – Barcelona (tba)
Dec. 22  – Vienna
Dec. 23  – Amsterdam

 
AYLER XMAS MUSICIANS 2018

 The all-star lineups for each host city will feature: 

NOV.23 – SUGAR MAPLE, MILWAUKEE
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Keefe Jackson - Reeds
Jim Baker – Piano, Viola, Arp Synth
Kent Kessler – Bass
Steve Hunt – Drums
Brian Sandstrom – Bass, Guitar, Trumpet

NOV.26 – TUBBY’S, KINGSTON NY
Mars Williams - Sax, Toy Instruments
Steve Swell - Trombone
Don Davis - Alto Sax
Ted Orr - Guitar
Steve Rust - Bass
Chris Corsano – drums

NOV.27 – THE STONE, NYC
Mars Williams - Sax, Toy Instruments
Steve Swell - Trombone
Hilliard Greene - Bass
Chris Corsano – drums
Nels Cline - Guitar

 NOV.28 – THE TWILIGHT ROOM at ALLWAYS LOUNGE, NEW ORLEANS
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Jeff Albert – Trombone
Helen M Gillet - Cello & Electronics
Paul Thibodeaux – Drums
Jesse Morrow - Bass
Rob Cambre – Guitar

NOV. 30 – SANCTUARY, ROCKFORD, IL
DEC. 1 & 2 – HUNGRY BRAIN, CHICAGO
Featuring Witches & Devils:
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Josh Berman – Cornet
Jim Baker – Piano, Viola, Arp Synth
Kent Kessler – Bass
Krzysztof Pabian – Bass (Dec. 1)
Steve Hunt – Drums
Brian Sandstrom – Bass, Guitar, Trumpet

DEC. 7 – Jazzkeller69 @ AUFSTURZ, BERLIN
DEC. 8 – CLUB W71, WEIKERSHEIM, DE
DEC. 9 – ALCHEMIA, KRAKOW
Mars Williams - Sax, Toy Instruments
Jaimie Branch -Trumpet
Klaus Kugel - drums
Mark Tokar - Bass
Knox Chandler - Guitar & electronics

DEC. 11 – “LE CANADIAN”, TOURS, FRANCE
w/ Capsul Collective musicians
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Jean Luc-Cappozzo - Trumpet
Etienne Ziemniak - Drums
Boris Rosenfeld - Guitar
Thibault Florent - Guitar
Emma Hocquellet - Keyboards
François Rosenfeld - Bass
Jean-Jacques Goichon - Double Bass

DEC. 12 – l'Art à palabre, PARIS, FR
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Antoine Viard - Saxes
Timothé Quost– Trumpet
Richard Comte - Guitar
Frédérick Galiay- Bass
Philippe Gleize - Drums

DEC. 14 – SMUP, LISBON
DEC. 15 – COIMBRA, PT
DEC. 16 – BARCELONA (TBA)
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Luis Lopes – Guitar
Vasco Trilla – Drums

DEC. 22 – PORGY & BESS, VIENNA
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Thomas Berghammer - Trumpet
Hermann Stangassinger - Bass 
Markus Schneider - Guitar
Didi Kern – Drums, Percussion

DEC. 23 – BIMHUIS, AMSTERDAM
Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Wolter Wierbos - trombone
Eric Boeren - cornet
Wilbert De Joode - bass
Frank Rosaly – drums
Jonas Cambien - Piano, Synthesizer