Mars Williams

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Mars Williams
Mars Williams with Liquid Soul at Double Door January 2011
Background information
Born (1955-05-29) 29 May 1955 (age 61)
Elmhurst, Illinois
United States
Genres Rock, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, orchestrator, arranger
Instruments Saxophone, clarinet
Associated acts The Waitresses, The Psychedelic Furs, Liquid Soul

Mars Williams (born May 29, 1955 in Elmhurst, Illinois) is an American jazz and rock saxophonist. Exposed to Big Band and Dixieland Jazz by his trumpet playing father, Williams played classical clarinet for ten years, then migrated to the saxophone in his senior year of high school, citing influences from Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker.[1][2] He attended De Paul University and later the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians where he studied under the mentorship of founders Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell. In 2004 he was selected by the Moers Festival as their featured artist.[3]

Williams is a musician, orchestrator and arranger who has played with various bands and recording artists including The Waitresses and gold-record sellers The Psychedelic Furs. He was originally only to tour with The Furs in Australia for a month in 1983 as then sax-player Gary Windo was unable to make the trip. After a successful tour and the subsequent Waitresses breakup, Mars was asked to stay on as a permanent member, which he did until 1989 and later rejoined in 2005. He has also performed with Billy Idol and the Robert Palmer era Power Station, as well as Billy Squier, Massacre, Ministry, Die Warzau and other leading figures in both the Chicago and the NYC downtown music scenes. He also has toured and recorded with the Peter Brotzmann Tentet, the Vandermark 5, Cinghiale, Our Daughter's Wedding, and Mark Freeland's Electroman, and is the bandleader of several spin-off jazz groups/projects: Grammy nominated, acid jazz pioneer Liquid Soul, Hal Russell's NRG Ensemble, Witches & Devils, Slam, and XmarsX. Despite his busy schedule, he manages to also stay active in the Chicago improvisational jazz underground scene both individually and as a member of the improvisational quartet Extraordinary Popular Delusions, which began a weekly Monday gig at Beat Kitchen in Chicago on 20 August 2010, after concluding a five-year-plus weekly run at nearby Hotti Biscotti.


As leader/co-leader[edit]

With the NRG Ensemble

With Liquid Soul

As Sideman[edit]

With Hal Russell

With Ken Vandermark


  1. ^ Torem, Lisa (27 August 2009). "Mars Williams/Psychedelic Furs : Interview". Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Liquid Soul". Retrieved 2014-07-30. 
  3. ^ "Chicago Calling : Mars Williams". Retrieved 2014-07-30.