As a young musician, Marshall Allen (b.1924) performed with pianist Art Simmons, Don Byas and James Moody before enrolling in the Paris Conservatory of Music. After relocating to Chicago, Allen became a pupil of Sun Ra, subsequently joining the his Arkestra in 1958 and leading Sun Ra’s formidable reed section for next 40 years (a role akin to the position Johnny Hodges held in the Duke Ellington Orchestra). Marshall, along with John Gilmore, June Tyson and James Jacson, lived, rehearsed, toured and recorded with Sun Ra almost exclusively for much of Ra’s musical career. As a member of the Arkestra, Marshall Allen pioneered the Free Jazz movement of the early sixties, having remarkable influence on most of the leading voices in the avant-garde. He is featured on over 200 Sun Ra recordings. Allen assumed the position of meastro in 1995, following the ascension of Sun Ra 1993, and John Gilmore in 1995. Like his mentor, he is committed to the study, research, and development of Sun Ra’s musical precepts.
Weasel Walter founded the band The Flying Luttenbachers in Chicago in 1991 with late jazz cult figure Hal Russell. Over the years, the band has included noted Chicago musicians such as Ken Vandermark, Jeb Bishop, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Dylan Posa, while creating an uncompromising and mercurial body of abstract music drawing equally from no wave, death metal, free jazz, gamelan, noise music, hardcore punk and modern classical. Walter relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003, where he formed the latest of many Luttenbachers lineups, remaining on percussion with the addition of bassist Mike Green (Burmese), and virtuoso guitarist Ed Rodriguez (ex-Colossamite, Gorge Trio). Singular guitar phenomenon Mick Barr (Octis, Orthrelm) joined the group in 2005. The Flying Luttenbachers ceased to operate in late 2007. In addition to leading various free jazz ensembles under his own name, currently he is a member of XBXRX and Burmese. MORE