(Mars Williams / Paal Nilssen-Love / Kent Kessler)
Best Records 2013
Boneshaker - Boneshaker (Trost Records, 2012) ****
by Peter Margasak
Saxophonist Mars Williams, bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love are all charter members of the [Brotzmann] tentet and together generate plenty of fury on Boneshaker, their terrific debut as a working trio, particularly on the relentless, aptly titled “Hostilities In Progress.” While Williams is one of the planet’s most fearsome fire-breathers and Nilssen-Love one of its most explosive percussionists, Boneshaker also emphasizes the deep jazz roots all three players have, from the coolly churning swing that closes “What Doesn’t Kill You…” to the ballad-like fragility of “Beauty Of Sadness.”
Three prolific powerhouse musicians, carrying among them a Grammy nomination and decades of experience with the top ensembles in the world.
A little about the artists:
Norwegian phenom Paal Nilssen-Love has established himself over the last decade as one of the most important voices in improvised music from his generation. A powerful drummer of unbounded energy, he shows an ongoing ability to break physical and musical boundaries on his continual hunt for new collaborations and experiences. Currently, Nilssen-Love is active with musicians such as Mats Gustafsson, Peter Brotzmann, Ken Vandermark, Evan Parker, Sten Sandell, Otomo Yoshihide and Frode Gjerstad. Some of the world-renowned groups he performs with include The Thing, Atomic, Brotzmann/Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love, and TheVandermark/Nilssen-Love Duo
Kent Kessler, born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, grew up mostly in Chicago. After seeing the Montreaux Festival on television in 1970 he became interested in jazz. Kent studied musique concrete at Chicago Musical College in the period from 1977-1983, playing in various punk rock and free-improv groups in Chicago and taking time off to wander in Brazil. Kessler started concentrating on the double bass, after having played trombone, guitar, electric bass, short-wave radio and various other instruments and non-instruments. He joined the Hal Russell NRG Ensemble in 1985. Kent gained his first international experience when the group went on to record for ECM and tour in Europe. In the 1990′s Kessler became better known as a frequent bandmate of Ken Vandermark. He has kept the trans-Atlantic connection by playing in groups led by Georg Graewe, Peter Brötzmann and Daniele D’Agaro, and performing with many other European improvisors. Kent has a solo CD on Okkadisk, “Bull Fiddle,” and appears on dozens of other recordings.
Mars Williams is an open-minded musician, composer and educator who commutes easily between free jazz, funk, hip-hop and rock. Mars has played and or recorded with The Psychedelic Furs, Billy Idol, Massacre, Fred Frith, Bill Laswell, Ministry, Power Station, Die Warzau, The Waitresses, Kiki Dee, Pete Cosey, Billy Squier, DJ Logic, Wayne Kramer, John Scoffield, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, The Mission UK, Swollen Monkeys, Mike Clark, Gerry Garcia, Naked Raygun, Friendly Fires, The Untouchables, Blow Monkeys, MC5, and virtually every leading figure of Chicago’s and New York City's "downtown" scene.
John Zorn credits Mars as "one of the true saxophone players--someone who takes pleasure in the sheer act of blowing the horn. This tremendous enthusiasm is an essential part of his sound, and it comes through each note every time he plays. Whatever the situation, Mars plays exciting music. In many ways he has succeeded in redefining what versatility means to the modern saxophone player."
In 2001 Mars received a Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Record with his group Liquid Soul.
Despite his busy touring schedule with Liquid Soul and The Psychedelic Furs, Mars manages to stay active on the Chicago underground improvising scene. In recent years he has toured and recorded with the Peter Brötzmann Tentet, Full Blast, Scorch Trio, the Vandermark 5, and Cinghiale, teaming him with such musicians as Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake, Michael Zerang, William Parker, Kent Kessler, Tim Daisy, Fredric Lonberg Holm, Peter Brotzmann, Joe McPhee, Paal Nilssen-Love, Mike Reed, Jeb Bishop, Harrison Bankhead, Dave Rempis, Kidd Jordan and Matts Gustafson. He performs weekly in Chicago along with Jim Baker, Steve Hunt, and Brian Sandstrom in the improvising quartet “Extraordinary Popular Delusions”. As a bandleader, he continues to perform and record CDs with his own free-jazz groups, the NRG Ensemble, Witches & Devils, Slam, XmarsX, Mars Trio, and The Soul Sonic Sirkus which features improvising musicians and aerial circus performers.
Along with Die Warsau’s Van Christie, Mars has startedRatking Music, a production company focusing on music for film and television.