Jan Johansson was a Swedish jazz pianist. He is little known outside Scandinavia, and his records are not widely available, though Jazz pa svenska (Jazz in Swedish) has sold more than a quarter of a million copies, and is the best selling jazz release ever in Sweden.
Johansson was a native of Soderhamn, in the Halsingland province of Sweden. Studying classical piano as a child, he would also go on to master the guitar, organ and accordion, before turning on to swing and bebop as a teenager. He met saxophonist Stan Getz while at university. He abandoned his studies to play jazz full time, and worked with many American jazz musicians, becoming the first European to be invited to join the Jazz at the Philharmonic package.
The years 1961 to 1968 produced a string of classic albums, which would help define his style of re-imagining traditional European folk tunes via jazz and the avant garde