Get this crazy baby off my head!


Thijs Van Leer


Thijs Van Leer - Introspection - 1972 - CBS

It seems unfair that some people are so much more talented than others. THIJS VAN LEER is one of those more-than-usually gifted musicians. He could have been a concert pianist for instance. Born the last day of March 1948, he caressed the keys when still in the tiniest of toddlers, started up studying seriously when he was all of three years old and became the often praised pupil of locally famous pianists like Maria Stroo and Gerard Hengeveld. When he was thirteen, he became interested in jazz and pretty soon played fine harmonic variations on "Stella by Starlight" and other beautiful ballads. Van Leer Senior, however, was not very happy to see a possible Mozart gradually becoming a probable Bill Evans. Being an extraordinary flute player himself, he started to teach young Thijs the intricacies of this old and difficult instrument. Meanwhile, the musical prodigy did very well in school. His finished his Gymnasium-studies in record time and even proved to have more arrows to his cultural bow than people had expected: during an inter-scholar match, he proved himself an exciting actor in Shakespeare, did some declamation of his own poetry, played and flute and finally sang a song he had just composed in true Richard Rogers-style: music and lyrics. It was then that I had the fortune to discover Thijs van Leer and I took him to his recording session in 1967. This resulted in a single nobody took notice of. I also introduced Van Leer to Ramses Shaffy, who was just forming a new cabaret group and soon young Thijs made his professional debut on stages all over the country. Meanwhile he studied the History of Art, took lessons in harmony and counterpoint at the Amsterdam Conservatory and painted many pictures. Success had to come one way or another. It came when he formed his own group with equally talented Jan Akkerman, a guitar player of great virtuosity and his group called FOCUS, has now won prizes in Festivals all over Europe, as well as the 1971 Edison Award, apart from being a top-selling bunch of record makers. This is the first solo LP Thijs van Leer has made. It goes back to Bach in some numbers, it shows his classical training, it proves his ability as a flute player. It also shows his remarkable sense of style and form. Whether you hear Fauré's lovely Pavane or Van Leer's own FOCUS I and II, you will be thrilled by the whole conception and realisation of his music. A word of praise should be printed for Rogier van Otterloo, who wrote so many fine arrangements for Rita Reys and others and who came up this time (being a pianist and flute player himself) with truly lush orchestral backgrounds, in which a prominent part is played, or rather sung, by young soprano Letty de Jong. So there it is: an LP featuring a still very young but unusually gifted performer named Thijs van Leer, whose name you're bound to hear many times in the future and whose kind of music should appeal to anyone with good ears and taste. © Willem Duys 1996 / 2010 © FOCUS TRIBUTE HOMEPAGE http://www.mpq.com.br/focus/solos/leer01.htm

In 1972 FOCUS had already obtained world success and its musicians' talent was deservedly recognized. Was in this same year that Thijs van Leer began his solo career, parallelly to the work in FOCUS. The debuts was the album Instrospection, that would be the first of a series with the same name. This series sold very much, mainly in Belgium and Netherlands. Sincerely the series Introspection probably doesn't please the most traditional rocker, because its not rock albums. In Introspection Thijs show us many versions of classic music and include new versions of his compositions in FOCUS. This confirm my thesis that if Thijs van Leer or Jan Akkerman had been born in the middle-ages, today they would be considered so important for the music like Bach, Handel, Albinoni, etc. © Rodrigo Mantovani 1996 / 2010 © FOCUS TRIBUTE HOMEPAGE http://www.mpq.com.br/focus/introspe.htm

Beautifully played classical pieces including two self-penned tracks from the great ex-Focus member. Even if you prefer rock or jazz music, this album is a worthwhile listen. It shows the other side of this great musician, and is an album that should appeal to all good music lovers. Listen to Thijs' "I Hate Myself (For Loving You)" album and Focus' marvellous live "At the Rainbow" album



1."Pavanne" (Fauré Op. 50) - Gabriel Fauré
2."Rondo" - Rogier van Otterloo
3."Agnus Dei" (from Mass in B minor JS Bach) - Johann Sebastian Bach
4."Focus I"- Thijs van Leer


1."Erbarme Dich" (from St. Matthew Passion JS Bach) - Johann Sebastian Bach
2."Focus II"-Thijs van Leer
3."Introspection"- Rogier van Otterloo


Letty DeJong – Vocals
Thijs Van Leer – Synthesizer, flute, keyboards, vocals


Thijs van Leer, (born 31 March 1948, Amsterdam) is a Dutch musician, singer and composer, best known for heading the Dutch progressive rock band, Focus, as primary vocalist, Hammond organ player, and flautist. He also sings, yodels and whistles. In his later years, Van Leer went on to release many solo albums which were also classical music and jazz-based. Van Leer received his first flute at the age of eleven from his father, a classical flautist. He studied History of Art at Amsterdam University; after when he began studying flute and composition at the Amsterdam Conservatorium. He received a degree for flute from Geneva Conservatoire and also studied piano, orchestration (with Rogier van Otterloo) and organ (with Anthon van der Horst). While still at school, van Leer led a jazz group on piano. He went on to play the flute and sing with the Shaffy cabaret group. In 1969 he joined Martijn Dresden (bass) and Hans Cleuver (drums) to form a trio that covered songs by Traffic and backed other Dutch musicians, as well as playing their own material. Later in the year guitarist Jan Akkerman joined, completing the initial line-up of Focus. They released several albums in the early 1970s. Van Leer headed Focus through several line-up changes, and by 1977 he was the only remaining original member. The group disbanded in 1978. In 1985, van Leer briefly reunited with Akkerman to make Focus 1985. In 2002, van Leer created a new Focus line-up, which has since released the albums Focus 8 and Focus 9 / New Skin. A British tour was undertaken in spring 2006. He also appeared as a guest musician on the album, Into the Electric Castle, by Arjen Anthony Lucassen's musical project Ayreon. In 2008 Explore Multimedia released van Leer's first solo album in nearly a decade, The Home Concert. The album featured recordings made in his living room as he played material for Focus 9. The album is exclusively available via the internet, and at concerts.