|1936 - 1998|
|Pianist, Komponist, Arrangeur, Bandleader|
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 but only, he says, “because of the financial difficulties my mother overcame in those post war years.”
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 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. It was whilst they were flying in a military transport plane over Africa that Horst thought his career was about to come to a sudden end. “We were caught in a tornado and the plane was expected to crash. We were given parachutes and instructions to jump but it was impossible to open the hatch. We thought the end had come - but suddenly the plane straightened out and the danger had passed” he recalls.
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.
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