This is a reissue on CD and LP (LP is available from www.whatmusic.com) of a rare classic from 1975.
The packaging is high quality digipak, and the following interview with Micheline Pelzer (the drummer and daughter of the band leader) is included on the packaging:
The whatmusic.com interview…
I started playing drums at 14 – it was the instrument that attracted me the most because in my mind drums represented freedom. It was when I heard John Coltrane 4tet with Elvin Jones in 1965 at Comblain-La-Tour Festival that I really decided to be a drummer. Of course the influence of my father Jacques Pelzer was important in my decision to become a professional musician. In my infancy I was always surrounded by bebop musicians – Bobby Jaspar, Rene Thomas and Chet Baker, for example.
I began performing concerts in 1967, mostly with my father and also with guitarist Rene Thomas and organist Lou Bennett; the best school to learn is the stage! In the late 60s I was very influenced by the free jazz scene and Steve Lacy, who was a good friend of my father, asked me to join his Post Free Big Band (with Enrico Rava on trumpet) for a 6 month tour of Italy.
Back in Belgium I then had a few concerts under my own name with a trio comprised of Johnny Dyani on bass and Mongezi Feza on trumpet, and I asked my father to join us for that ‘free adventure’. In 1969 we opened for Miles Davis at the Liege Festival. That evening, Wayne Shorter heard the group and asked me to come to NY to record with him.
I arrived in New York in December 1969 and then recorded Wayne’s Blue Note LP “Moto Grosso Feio” in April 1970 with Chick Corea, Dave Holland, John McLaughlin, Ron Carter and Miroslav Vitous. New York was a big shock for me; I’ve never felt such strong vibrations anywhere else. I think that every jazz musician in the world must go to N.Y. at least once in their lifetime, as it is the foremost jazz town in the world.
When I arrived there I was invited to a 3 storey house on 19th St. and 7th Ave. Chick Corea lived on the 1st floor, Dave Holland on the 2nd and Dave Liebman on the 3rd. Liebman opened his place for rehearsals and jam sessions everyday – so many musicians passed by that I cannot remember them all! Very often I jammed with Bennie Maupin, Steve Grossman, Richie Beirach and Chick Corea. Living in N.Y. was the richest experience of my life – when I returned from the U.S., Belgium seemed sad to me!!
By chance, Barney Wilen (another good friend of my father’s) returned from a two-year trip to Africa and asked me to join his group Moshi in Paris. It was a great 2 years experience. Coming out of free jazz, I had to play African rhythms to accompany taped field recordings that Barney made in Africa. That was world music 20 years before anyone had heard of it! It was also in Moshi that I met pianist Michel Graillier, who was to become my husband.
Open Sky Unit – named after Dave Liebman’s group Open Sky – was at first a family affair. My cousin Steve Houben studied classical flute at conservatory and learned sax with my father. While I was in Paris with Moshi my father met Ron Wilson in Maastricht. Ron is a great composer so we decided that Steve, my father and myself would form a group based on Ron’s music. Steve brought his friend Janot Buchem to our house and we started rehearsing hard in our basement for a few months and the group started to develop its own sound. Open Sky Unit had a lot of success wherever we played – Belgium, Holland, Germany, Tabarka’s festival in Tunisia.
I like the OSU LP , especially when Ron Wilson sings – I love his voice. The LP is not “perfect” because it’s a live recording from one evening’s concert, but the feeling of the group is present. That’s the most import-ant thing – we were a joyful group.
In 1975 Steve Houben left Belgium for Boston and Ron Wilson lost interest in singing – he wanted to concentrate on piano, so when we had a second opportunity to record for Duchesne, my father and I asked my friend pianist Michel Graillier and bassist Alby Cullaz to record another live LP, “Song For Rene”.
Since those years we kept the OSU name and its concept of friendship and family. Even the last OSU CD “Never Let Me Go”, recorded in 1990, had 3 of the family and 3 good friends (Barney Wilen, Eric Legnini and Bart de Nolf) on it. Personally I think that was the best thing we recorded.
During the 80s I played in a women’s group called Ladies First, a swinging group that was a big success in Paris. We also played the Vienna Festival with Dee Dee Bridgewater in 1987 – it’s a pity no recording exists. Ladies First split up when the guitarist Marie-Ange Martin left for the U.S.
At the same time I played a lot with Chet Baker (I first toured with him, my father and Michel in Zaire in 1977) in Italy, Paris and Chicago in 1986. Chet and I were very close friends-he knew me since I was a kid in ‘55!!
SOFT MACHINE . Great band. Killer book. Super cool spacesuit.
Kevin Ayers, bass, guitar, vocals; Hugh Hopper, bass; Mike Ratledge, organ, piano; Robert Wyatt, drums, piano, vocals; Brian Hopper, saxophone; Elton Dean, saxophone; Mark Charig, cornet; Lyn Dobson, saxophone, flute; Nick Evans, trombone
Tracklist: 1. Clarence In Wonderland — 2:57 2. We Know What You Mean — 3:11 3. Certain Kind — 3:38 4. Hope For Happiness — 4:37 5. Strangest Scene (aka Lullaby Letter) — 4:55 6. Facelift/Mousetrap/Noisette/Backwards/Mousetrap Reprise — 11:54 7. The Moon In June — 13:02 8. Instant Pussy — 3:19 9. Slightly All The Time/Out Bloody Rageous/Eamonn Andrews — 19:19 disc 1 time: 66:52
1. Virtually — 9:58 2. Fletcher’s Blemish — 12:11 3. Neo-Caliban Grides — 7:34 4. Dedicated To You But You Weren’t Listening — 2:46 5. Eamonn Andrews/All White — 7:11 6. Mousetrap/Noisette/Backwards/Mousetrap Reprise/Esther’s Nose Job — 21:11 disc 2 time: 60:51
"Find your true weakness and surrender to it. Therein lies the path to genius. Most people spend their lives using their strengths to overcome or cover up their weaknesses. Those few who use their strengths to incorporate their weaknesses, who don’t divide themselves, those people are very rare. In any generation there are a few and they lead their generation."