Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Mars Williams: An Ayler Xmas Volume 2

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Recently, a major motion picture studio remade the 1967 animation classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, starring the voice of Boris Karloff. You might remember the animated cartoon was based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. The 21st century's computer-animation is an abomination, an insult to our childhood innocence, just as the Jim Carrey film from 2000 was. Now, before you take up arms or plan an Occupy Wall Street demonstration, I'm here to tell you that jazz, in the form of a man from Mars, has come to save Christmas. Actually, a man named Mars.

Saxophonist Mars Williams released An Ayler Xmas (Soul What Records, 2017) and is back with Volume 2 this year. Albert Ayler and Christmas music. The mash-up works, just like cranberry sauce and turkey. Recorded live in Chicago with his Ayler tribute band Witches And Devils and in Vienna with an Austrian band that includes Christof Kurzmann (Orchestra 33 1/3, Made To Break) and Didi Kern (Mats Gustafsson and DEK Trio). The music sizzles with nostalgia for the innocence of youth, both the lost naiveté of holidays past and the origins of free jazz.

Just as Albert Ayler could resurrect "La Marseillaise" sans irony, Williams performs "Carol Of The Drum," or as you might know it, "The Little Drummer Boy." Both musicians never met a march they didn't like. Josh Berman's cornet sits in for Donald Ayler and Fred Lonberg-Holm's cello for Michel Sampson's violin. And yes, there are Ayler flights of sound as the performance explodes in "Bells" or "Love Cry," which encircles "Christmas Wrapping," a song Williams recorded with the post-punk/new wave band The Waitresses in 1981. The entire recording shouts (metaphorically) "Joy To The World."

Track Listing: Xmas Medley; O Tannenbaum/Spirits/12 Days Of Christmas; Love Cry/Christmas Wrapping; Carol Of The Drum/Bells/O Come Emmanuel/Joy To The World; Universal Indians/We Wish You A Merry Xmas.

Personnel: Chicago band Witches & Devils: Mars Williams: saxophones, 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: saxophones, toy instruments; Thomas Berghammer: trumpet; Hermann Stangassinger: bass; Didi Kern: drums, percussion; Christof Kurzmann: Lloopp, vocals.

Title: An Ayler Xmas Volume 2 | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Soul What Records/ESP Disk

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019
Read Vera Album Reviews
Vera
By Jerome Wilson
January 22, 2019
Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019