Karel Boehlee is perhaps Holland's best-kept secret. I remember hearing him play in the early eighties, when I just returned from the United States. He was the first pianist of this kind of modern class I had ever heard in Holland. And on what level! Over the years Karel has improved and improved. The lines became more thoughtful, the harmony more precise; the rhythm was always very strong, but became larger, more in the pocket. Yet underneath all these ingredients there was always something more powerful: the sound! Karel's sound is unique; his touch just seems to reach you right in the centre of where music enters the soul. With impeccable taste Karel will always come up with something fresh, something his own and makes it sound so good.
So why is he a well kept secret? Well, Karel is a real player; he simply loves to go out and play. He will play with his old pals in little cafés, he will play with young and upcoming musicians, he will play with the best pop singers. Karel is a musician at heart. And the business doesn't know how to deal with this. The business wants exclusivity, wants to put a label on someone, wants an image. And somehow Karel is not playing that game. He is not chasing record deals; he is not showing his face at the right spots at the right time, he doesn't search for journalists to do interviews with him. He is busy doing what a musician should do: play music!
It takes people with a broader outlook to recognise Karel's sublimity. He has recorded seven CD's for a Japanese label; they keep coming back. Karel is the favourite pianist of the legendary Toots Thielemans. Karel is loved by wonderful Dutch pop singer Trijntje Oosterhuis, who will seek him out whenever there is a chance. Real people know that behind this humble appearance a great pianist is residing.