While he did not release any record during the 1970s, saxophonist, trumpeter,
vibraphonist and drummer Harold "Hal Russell" Luttenbacher (1926) was
instrumental in keeping free jazz alive in Chicago.
His NRG Ensemble, formed in 1979 and first documented on
NRG Ensemble (may 1981), became the vehicle for his
extroverted and eccentric compositions, such as the
19-minute Cascade on Generation (september 1982), featuring
baritone saxophonist Charles Tyler.
His sense of humor, somewhere between Albert Ayler and Frank Zappa,
was influential in mitigating the grave tone of creative music.
Eftsoons (august 1981) was a collaboration with tenor saxophonist Mars Williams.
The NRG Ensemble was also documented on Conserving NRG (march 1984),
Hal On Earth (november 1989),
The Hal Russell Story (july 1992), documenting the line-up with
multi-instrumentalists Mars Williams and Brian Sandstrom, Kent Kessler on bass and Steve Hunt on percussion.
He made his first solo recording, Bells (may 1992), at the age of 65.
The 3CD boxset The Chicago River (april 1992)
documents a live performance with Joel Futterman (piano, curved soprano sax, indian flute, percussion).
Russell died a few months later in 1992.