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The Flying Luttenbachers

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Biography

A product of the fertile music scene centered around Chicago's Wicker Park area, the free jazz ensemble the Flying Luttenbachers was formed in 1990 by multi-instrumentalist Weasel Walter, a veteran of area punk bands whose love of the music of avant-saxophonist Hal Russell inspired him to form a jazz group of his own. Walter soon teamed with bassist Bill Pisarri and others to found the Sound Improvisation Collective, who on a flyer for their March 8, 1991, debut performance described themselves as "the eczema of dada, Ornette, no wave, Partch, punk, Ayler, Company, and Beefheart." After just one other performance, the group disbanded. That summer, Walter met his hero, Russell, and soon began taking sax lessons from him. Their rapport was instant, and in late 1991 they formed the Flying Luttenbachers with saxophonist Chad Organ.

A live date recorded at the Northwestern University radio station provided the material for the Luttenbachers' debut LP, Live at WNUR 2-6-92, issued on Walter's own ugEXPLODE label. However, Russell soon began focusing more and more of his attention on his other band, the NRG Ensemble; with a recording date imminent, Walter quickly replaced him with saxophonist Ken Vandermark, and without benefit of a single rehearsal date, the Luttenbachers cut the 546 Seconds of Noise EP in mid-1992. Russell died that following September, but the group forged on, in 1993 recording the 1389 Seconds of Noise EP, which heralded an increasing turn toward a so-called "punk-jazz" sound. Bassist Jeb Bishop joined soon after, followed a short time later by the addition of guitarist Dylan Posa; sessions for the Constructive Destruction album commenced in late 1993.

Vandermark exited the Luttenbachers in April 1994, although he briefly returned in order to record the LP Destroy All Music. An East Coast tour followed, but during the return trip, Walter announced he was dissolving the group, disgusted by the creative complacency of the other members. He recorded the next few Flying Luttenbachers singles as a solo act before recruiting his longtime pal, Bill Pisarri, and guitarist Chuck Falzone, a friend since back in kindergarten. As a trio, the group cut 1996's Revenge of the Flying Luttenbachers, followed later that year by Gods of Chaos, a conceptual work exploring the possible destruction of humanity. Retrospektiw III, a collection of out-of-print singles tracks and unreleased material, appeared in 1998. The Flying Luttenbachers, with an oft-changing lineup and Walter as the only constant, continued to release an album a year, including 1999's The Truth Is a F*****g Lie, 2002's Infection and Decline, 2004's The Void, and 2006's Cataclysm.

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