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AYLER XMAS TOUR 2017

Mars Williams presents: An Ayler Xmas
The music of Albert Ayler & songs of Chrismas

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, Willams 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

 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 Europe & the US.

Dec. 1– Hollyoke, MA
Dec. 2– Newburg, NY
Dec. 4– NYC
Dec. 8– New Orleans
Dec. 10 – Chicago
Dec. 15 – Vienna
Dec. 16 – Wells, Austria
Dec. 17 – Paris
Dec. 20 – Antwerp
Dec. 23 – Amsterdam

 
AYLER XMAS MUSICIANS 2017

Dec. 1 – Hollyoke, MA
Dec. 2 – Jazz @ Atlas, Newburg, NY

Mars Williams - Sax
Joe McPhee – Trumpet, Sax
Jeb Bishop - Trombone
Nate McBride - Bass

Joe Morris – Guitar
Chris Corsano – drums

Dec. 4 – The Stone, NYC

Mars Williams – sax
Joe McPhee – Trumpet, Sax
Steve Swell - Trombone
Hilliard Greene - Bass
Chris Corsano – drums

 

DEC. 8 – THE MINT, NEW ORLEANS

Mars Williams - Sax
Jeff Albert – Trombone
Helen M Gillet - Cello & Electronics
Paul Thibodeaux – Drums
Jesse Morrow - Bass
Rob Cambre - Guitar


DEC. 10 – HUNGRY BRAIN, CHICAGO

Mars Williams - Sax
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 – WELLS

Mars Williams - Saxes
Thomas Berghammer - Trumpet
Hermann Stangassinger - Bass
Didi Kern - Drums
Christof Kurzmann – lloopp, vocals

 

DEC. 17 – ATELIER TAMPON NOMADE, PARIS 

Mars Williams - Saxes
Julien Desprez – Electric Guitar
Antoine Viard - Saxes
Simon Henocq – Electronics
Yann Joussein – Drums

 

DEC. 23 – BIMHUIS, AMSTERDAM

Mars Williams - sax
Wolter Wierbos - trombone
Eric Boeren - cornet
Wilbert De Joode - bass
Jasper Stadhouders - guitar
Frank Rosaly - drums