Jacques Pelzer is one of the few musicians to have gone through a dizzy number of jazz periods without ever losing sight of his goal or his integrity. He earned the respect and the admiration of many jazz greats and led an especially long, rich and active career.

Born in Liège on June 24, 1924, Jacques Pelzer got his inspiration from Benny Carter, then Charlie Parker and Lee Konitz. His first exposure was after world war II, when he joined the Bob Shots, a legendary Belgian bop band that included at various time pioneers such as Bobby Jaspar, René Thomas, SADI, etc.

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He also played with other historical figures of Belgian jazz such as pianist/arranger Francy Boland, guitar and harmonica player Toots Thielemans, bassist Benoît Quersin etc… His work with René Thomas continued for several years, leading to several recordings, a.o. with organ player Lou Bennett.

But Jacques Pelzer’s evolution didn’t stop there. In the sixties and seventies, he showed curiosity towards new forms of music, such as free jazz and fusion. He recorded the soundtrack of the film “Le Départ” with Don Cherry, Philip Catherine, Gato Barbieri… Three American tours with Chet Baker laid the foundations of a true friendship and a real musical partnership. He also got to meet Dexter Gordon, Archie Shepp, Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Philly Joe Jones and Bill Evans.

Jacques Pelzer also led his own groups as the OPEN SKY UNIT.

In the eighties and nineties, Jacques Pelzer went back to straight ahead jazz, showing a definite preference for acoustic jazz, selected bebop standards, but also songs that he used to play with Chet Baker, including more modern compositions. An eclectic repertoire in which the accent was put on concentration, lyricism and expression.

Jacques Pelzer made a remarkable come back to the studios in 1990 to record his CD “Never let me go” (IGLOO – IGL084) with the Open Sky Unit and Barney Wilen, Michel Graillier, Eric Legnini as guests. This recording received the Sax Prize for best jazz album of the year 1991.

Three magnificent Belgian jazz musicians, guitarist Philip Catherine, bassist Philippe Aerts and drummer Bruno Castellucci joined Jacques Pelzer for his album “Salute To The Bandbox”. This CD was to be his last one. Jacques PELZER left us on August 6th, 1994.

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