Horst Jankowski (January 30, 1936 – June 29, 1998) was a classically trained German pianist, most famous for his internationally successful easy listening music.
Horst Jankowski was born in Berlin, Germany on January 30th 1936. Horst lost his father when he was eight. When heavy bombing raids started on Berlin, Horst and his mother moved away from the city, but because of their joint ambition for him to become a prominent musician they returned to the devastated capital in 1947 to take advantage of the facilities for a music education. After leaving High School, he attended the Berlin Music Conservatory and was awarded a degree for his skill as a concert pianist.
Horst, who also played tenor saxophone, trumpet and double bass, was leading his own jazz combo at an American club in West Berlin when he impressed Kurt Kohenberger , a talent buyer for the for the Roman Bar in Berlin, who arranged for him to tour Germany and other European countries. One of the people he met was the famous singer Caterina Valente, who invited him to become her accompanist on a Special Service Assignment through Europe and Africa.
On that tour critics were already hailing Horst as a star of the future and in 1955, at the age of just 19, a stint as featured pianist with the outstanding German Erwin Lehn Orchestra further contributed to Horst’s growing eminence in continental musical circles. From 1957 Horst was voted top jazz pianist by German jazz fans and from 1960 he served as orchestral director for numerous leading European and American artists visiting Germany. Among them were Ella Fitzgerald , Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Michel Legrand, and Oscar Peterson.
To this list of accomplishments, Horst had a career as a best-selling recording artist, with numerous hits to his credit in Germany and America. At the mere mention of Horst Jankowski’s name, one immediately thinks of his famous hit record “ A Walk in the Black Forest” (Eine Schwarzwaldfahrt). And yet this is only the best known of a vast number of songs recorded by this singularly unique artist.
The tune became a pop hit, reaching #1 on the US easy listening chart, #12 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #3 on the UK Singles Chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. It has been covered by many artists including Herb Alpert and Peter Nero. The track was featured on the BBC's review of the 1960s music scene, Pop Go The Sixties, broadcast on BBC One and ZDF, on January 1, 1970. The Genius of Jankowski album, released in 1965, was also a million seller.
Jankowski went on to score a string of successful albums, but moved on in the 1970s to concentrate more on jazz, including covers of pop and rock hits. Between 1989 and 1994 Jankowski composed and performed easy listening music for Sonoton, Germany.
Jankowski died of lung cancer in 1998, at the age of 62.
(Info edited from Wikipedia & horstjankowski.com)