Randy Sandke is a jazz trumpeter and composer whose work encompases a range of styles from 1920s era swing to contemporary jazz to the avant garde. He first emerged in the 1980s playing in Vince Giordano's Nighthawks and went on to perform in Benny Goodman's last band from 1984-1985. Since then he's recorded over 30 albums as leader and worked with artists including Michael Brecker, Benny Goodman, Kenny Barron, Susannah McCorkle, and Mel Torme. He has performed on Broadway and done film work, appearing on several soundtracks. As a composer Sandke has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and his works have been performed by the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and the Bulgarian National Orchestra.
Randy Sandke was offered a job in Janis Joplin's backing band in the late 1960s but had to turn it down due to a hernia in his throat. Randy Sandke played trumpet on the soundtrack of five Woody Allen movies including the 1994 film "Bullets over Broadway." Randy Sandke has written two books: "Harmony for a New Millennium" on his theory of metatonality, and "Where the Dark and the Light Folks Meet: Race and the Mythology, Politics, and Business of Jazz".
Jay Randall Sandke was born in Chicago in 1949. After finding a stack of his parent's jazz records Sandke and his older brother, trumpeter Jordan Sandke, were inspired to learn the music. Sandke began playing for dances and parties in his early teens and won a stage band competition while a student at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. He went on to study music at Indiana University where he met saxophonist Michael Brecker and in 1968 the two formed the short-lived jazz-rock band "Mrs. Seamon's Sound Band." Unfortunately, Sandke developed a hernia in his throat requiring surgery which put his trumpet playing on hold for nearly 10 years. During that time he moved to New York and spent several years teaching, playing guitar and piano before a fellow musician finally convinced him to pick up his trumpet again.