Jazz Institute of Chicago

The Flying Luttenbachers: Alptraum

The Flying Luttenbachers: Alptraum

Under the leadership of drummer Weasel Walter, the Flying Luttenbachers (FL) have known frequent personnel changes since the band's inception in 1992. With "Alptraum" (German for nightmare), a series of live Chicago recordings, the FL are taking a new direction with the welcome addition of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm (featured on 2 tracks). His impressive technique and skillful use of distortion can be heard on "the green glow" and on "deathlike coincidences." He, reedist Michael Colligan and bassist Kurt Johnson achieve a real unity and take the listener along for a journey in the subconscious.

Michael Colligan impresses by the control he has of his instrument, especially when he sustains high-pitch notes, and his playing can be reminiscent of Albert Ayler ("swarming cats"). The NRG Ensemble also comes to mind while listening to this boisterous collection ("I stood up and screamed"). However, the FL have also a very distinctive sound thanks to Weasel Walter's unorthodox drumming. His drum kit features an unusual combination of toms (no snare drum, for instance) creating a real dichotomy of toms/cymbals. Playing such a kit can be very demanding, but this allows Weasel Walter to be as energetic as he wants without drowning the other band members.

The FL have a double cd of studio recordings coming up and I am looking forward to it.—Alain Drouot

Available on Pandemonium Records at www.ripco.net/~nailhead.