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Mars Williams, free-jazz musician and saxophonist for the Psychedelic Furs, dies at 68

2 weeks ago 25

When the Chicago Reader declared in 1997 that audiences “won’t find a busier saxophonist in Chicago than Mars Williams,” more evergreen words were scarcely written.

Even in his 60s, Williams remained an omnipresent, indefatigable musical presence in this city and beyond. His live-wire sax sound expanded to fill the space it was in, whether a DIY hole-in-the-wall or a teeming arena concert with the Psychedelic Furs, with whom he toured as recently as last month.

“I don’t know anyone else who’s able to go one night from playing a rock concert in front of 5,000 people to playing at the Beat Kitchen in front of 10, and taking both contexts absolutely seriously,” saxophonist Dave Rempis told the Tribune recently. “It’s not even rare; it’s unheard of to mov...

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