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AYLER XMAS TOUR 2017

CD RELEASE and TOUR 2017

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

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


Mars Williams presents: An Ayler Xmas

CD RELEASE OCTOBER 31, 2017

The live recording from the 2016 annual “Ayler Xmas” at the Hungry Brain, Chicago featuring Witches and Devils, will be released on Williams’ Soul What Records label.
Available on CD or digital download via CD Baby and Bandcamp.

 

Witches & Devils is:

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

 

 
AYLER XMAS TOUR 2017

 For the last two of years, along with the annual Chicago performances, Williams experimented by performing “An Ayler Xmas” in New Orleans, using local musicians. The performances were incredibly successful!

 This year, featuring local improvisers from each host city, Williams expands his project by bringing it to select cities in the US & Europe.

 

Dec. 1  – Holyoke, MA

Dec. 2  – Newburgh, NY

Dec. 4  – NYC

Dec. 9  – New Orleans

Dec.10 – Chicago

Dec.15 – Vienna

Dec.16 – Wels, Austria

Dec.17 – Paris

Dec.20 – Antwerp

Dec.23 – Amsterdam

 

AYLER XMAS TOUR MUSICIANS 2017

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


DEC. 1 – GATEWAY CITY ARTS, HOLYOKE, MA

Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Joe McPhee – Trumpet, Sax
Jeb Bishop - Trombone
Nate McBride - Bass
Joe Morris – Guitar
Chris Corsano – drums

 
Dec. 2 – ATLAS STUDIOS, NEWBURGH, NY

Mars Williams - Sax, Toy Instruments
Joe McPhee – Trumpet, Sax
Hilliard Greene - Bass
Joe Morris – Guitar
Chris Corsano – drums

 
DEC. 4 – THE STONE, NYC

Mars Williams - Sax, Toy Instruments
Joe McPhee – Trumpet, Sax
Steve Swell - Trombone
Hilliard Greene - Bass
Chris Corsano – drums
Nels Cline - Guitar


DEC. 9 – THE MINT, NEW ORLEANS

Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Jeff Albert – Trombone
Paul Thibodeaux – Drums
Jesse Morrow - Bass
Rob Cambre – Guitar


DEC. 10 – HUNGRY BRAIN, CHICAGO

Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instrument
Josh Berman – Cornet
Fred Lonberg-holm - Cello
Jim Baker – Piano, Viola, Arp Synth
Kent Kessler – Bass
Brian Sandstrom – Bass, Guitar, Trumpet
Steve Hunt – Drums


DEC. 14 – PORGY & BESS, VIENNA
DEC. 16 - Alter Schlachthof, WELS,AU

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

 
DEC. 17 – ATELIER TAMPON NOMADE, PARIS

Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Julien Desprez – Electric Guitar
Antoine Viard - Baritone Sax
Antonin-Tri Hoang - Alto Sax
Frédérick Galiay - Electric Bass
Yann Joussein – Drums

DEC. 20 – Zuiderpershuis, ANTWERP

Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Jakob Warmenbol - Drums
Elko BLijweert - Electric Guitar
Niels Van Heertum – Euphonium,Trp.
Simon Bekaert - Bass

DEC. 23 – BIMHUIS, AMSTERDAM

Mars Williams – Sax, Toy Instruments
Wolter Wierbos - trombone
Eric Boeren - cornet
Wilbert De Joode - bass
Jasper Stadhouders - guitar
Frank Rosaly – drums