Randy Sandke

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Randy Sandke
Randy Sandke.jpg
Background information
Birth name Jay Randall Sandke
Born (1949-05-29)May 29, 1949
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Trumpet, guitar
Years active 1968–present
Labels Stash, Jazzology, Concord Jazz, Nagel-Heyer, Arbors
Associated acts Michael Brecker, Widespread Depression Jazz Orchestra, Nighthawks Orchestra, Bob Wilber, Benny Goodman
Website www.randysandke.com

Jay Randall Sandke (born May 5, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois) is a jazz trumpeter and guitarist.

While a student at Indiana University in 1968, he and Michael Brecker started a jazz-rock band that performed at the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival. He was invited to be a member of the backing band for rock singer Janis Joplin, but a throat problem kept him from performing. Despite a successful operation on his throat, he gave up the trumpet, moved to New York City, and played guitar for the next ten years. When he returned to the trumpet, he became a member of the Nighthawks Orchestra led by Vince Giordano, followed by membership in Bechet's Legacy led by Bob Wilber. From 1984–1985, he was part of Benny Goodman's last band.[1][2]

Sandke remarks in the liner notes to The Subway Ballet: "Okay – I worked with Benny Goodman, but so did Fats Navarro and Herbie Hancock and nobody refers to them as 'swing musicians.' ...Being thus labeled is somewhat akin to being called a child molester in that the tag never seems to go away, and both can be equally deleterious to one's career." He has recorded over twenty albums as a leader, ranging from revisitings of music from the 1920s and 1930s to explorations of contemporary idioms in the company Michael Brecker, Kenny Barron, Marty Ehrlich, Bill Charlap, and Uri Caine. He became interested in exploring dissonant, nonstandard harmonies that lie outside of conventional triadic harmony, creating a musical theory of what he calls "metatonality", a harmonic system outlined in his book Harmony for a New Millennium.[3]

He has led the New York All-Stars with Dan Barrett and Ken Peplowski, the Metatonal Band with Marvin Smith and Ted Rosenthal, and has done arrangements for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. His writings include a method book about his "metatonal" approach to harmony. He has a brother, Jordan Sandke, who is a trumpeter. Both brothers played in the Widespread Depression Jazz Orchestra.[2]

His albums include Trumpet After Dark, a jazz-with-strings album that uses Renaissance viols instead of modern violins. Inside Out and Outside In bring together mainstream jazz musicians such as Ken Peplowski and avant-garde jazz musicians Ray Anderson and Uri Caine. His work appeared in the movies The Cotton Club, Bullets over Broadway, and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.


  • 1985 New York Stories (Stash)
  • 1985 The Sandke Brothers (Stash)
  • 1990 Stampede (Jazzology)
  • 1992 Wild Cats (Jazzology)
  • 1993 Get Happy (Concord Jazz)
  • 1993 I Hear Music (Concord Jazz)
  • 1993 The Bix Beiderbecke Era (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 1994 A Night at Birdland, Vol. 1 (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 1994 Chase (Concord Jazz)
  • 1995 Calling All Cats (Concord Jazz)
  • 1995 Jazz Summit (Jimco)
  • 1998 Awakening (Concord Jazz)
  • 1998 Count Basie Remembered, Vol. 2 (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 2000 Love Songs Live! (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 2000 Re-Discovered Louis & Bix (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 2002 Inside Out (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 2002 Randy Sandke Meets Bix Beiderbecke (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 2002 The Music Of Bob Haggart (Arbors)
  • 2003 Cliffhanger (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 2005 Outside In (Evening Star)
  • 2005 The Mystic Trumpeter (Evening Star)
  • 2005 Trumpet After Dark (Evening Star)
  • 2006 The Subway Ballet (Evening Star)
  • 2007 All the Cats Join In (Nagel-Heyer)
  • 2007 Stompin' at the Savoy!
  • 2008 Unconventional Wisdom (Arbors)
  • 2009 Jazz for Juniors (Arbors)[4]


  1. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Randy Sandke". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b Kennedy, Gary (2002). Kernfeld, Barry, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 3 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 498. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.
  3. ^ Sandke, Randy (2001). Harmony for a new millennium : an introduction to metatonal music. New York, NY: Second Floor Music. p. 54. ISBN 0-634-04426-5.
  4. ^ "Randy Sandke | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2017.

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