When: Thu., Jan. 27, 10 p.m. 2011
MARS WILLIAMS & MIKE REED Reedist Mars Williams has a CV that dates back to the 70s, and it's nothing if not diverse. He's played polystylistic groove music with Liquid Soul, MTV pop with the Psychedelic Furs, and various strains of over-the-top jazz with Hal Russell, Peter Brötzmann, and Wayne Kramer. He hasn't backed away from this range of interests, but after hearing his recent versatile work with the quartet Extraordinary Popular Delusions, his outrageous treatment of Christmas carols with Witches & Devils, and his splendid performance with Kent Kessler and Paal Nilssen-Love at the beginning of January, I believe he's at the top of his free-jazz game. He uses clarinet, tarogato, and at least three different saxophones to cut hurtling lines through the densest barrages his partners blast his way, in the process infusing even the most frantic music with bluesy gravity. Williams and drummer Mike Reed have played as a duo just once before, but Reed has a history of playing in such combos. His 2006 album, In the Context Of (482 Music), confirms that duets are a great way to hear the imaginative use of wide-open space that he tends to keep under wraps in his regular groups, as well as the responsiveness he brings to every setting. A duo of bass clarinetist Jason Stein and vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz opens.