Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Mars Williams' Ayler Xmas at the Sugar Maple in Milwaukee on December 12, 2021

Still not quite recovered from hearing the terrible news yesterday of Mars Williams' death at the age of 68 of a rare form of cancer. 

He had been diagnosed last year with ampullary cancer. The Ampulla of Vater is a small opening in the first part of the small intestine where bile acid from the liver (stored in the gallbladder) and pancreatic secretions are released. I knew he was being treated with surgery and chemotherapy, but still the news of his passing was a shock.

Here is a recording I made of his group Ayler Xmas in December 2021 at a show at the Sugar Maple in Milwaukee. This project is a very clever blending of tunes by Albert Ayler along with traditional Christmas carols.

When my wife and I lived in Chicago during the years 1993-96, I spent many hours seeing live jazz shows at places such as the Lunar Cabaret, the Bop Shop, the Empty Bottle, Hot House, and the Green Mill. Mars was often on the bill. It seemed that for those years I was seeing him perform almost weekly. Mars was above all kind to everyone around us every time I saw him. 

He was scheduled to perform on December 3, 2023 at the Sugar Maple with this same group. 

The recording data is as follows:

Milwaukee, WI at the Sugar Maple

Mars Williams: sax, suona, toy instruments
Josh Berman: Cornet
Jim Baker: piano, viola, ARP synth
Peter Maunu: guitar, violin
Kent Kessler: bass
Brian Sandstrom: bass, guitar, trumpet
Steve Hunt: drums

01 First Medley (24:23)
02 Second Medley (32:45)
03 Third Medley (17:17)

Total time = 74:25

Microphones: Beyerdynamic MC930 pair on 7-foot stand in front row in NOS + Shure SM58 on 1-foot stand
Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Software: Audacity, Fission, xAct


these lossless files can be burned to CDR, if you are into that

highest quality lossy mp3 files possible 

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