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Two of the best-known groups to have featured local reedist Mars Williams will perform over the next two days. This evening at the Hideout the NRG Ensemble, the wild group once led by free-jazz icon and endearing nutjob Hal Russell, reconvenes for one of its sporadic "Hal the Weenie" Halloween shows, named after a favorite song from its vast repertoire. The lineup includes mainstays Williams, Brian Sandstrom (bass, guitar), Kent Kessler (bass), and Steve Hunt (drums) along with new recruits Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) and Dave Rempis (reeds). Between sets Yakuza front man and saxophonist Bruce Lamont will spin what the schedule is calling "Tunes of Terror."
Over at Elastic tomorrow Williams's Witches and Devils, which began as an Albert Ayler homage, plays an even rarer gig. Though early announcements said that superb Denver-based trumpeter Hugh Ragin would be participating, instead the leader will be fronting an all-Chicago lineup--it's nothing to sneeze at, though, featuring Hunt, Lonberg-Holm, Kessler, pianist Jim Baker, and trumpeter Jaimie Branch. Both shows promise plenty of paint-peeling free jazz.
Theresa Andersson, Hummingbird, Go! (Basin Street)
Marcos Valle, Samba "Demais" (Odeon)
Frida Hyvönen, Silence is Wild (Secretly Canadian)
Blitzen Trapper, Furr (Sub Pop)
Michael Bates's Outside Sources, A Fine Balance (Between the Lines)