"Sandke writes melodically, even when the tune is as complex as his 'Bad Times At Bennington.' And he always
swings... Both as an arranger and a player, he always finds something interesting to do..."
-- Owen Cordle, Jazz Times
Few trumpeters interpret melodies more lyrical than Sandke...stunning..."
-- Chip Deffaa, Entertainment Weekly
"This cat os too talented to be overlooked."
-- Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes
"Sandke... an assertive, brassy improvisor..."
-- Alex Henderson, Jazziz
"Only hardened cynics could be unaffected by the sheer prettiness of Sandke's concise commentaries..."
-- Thomas Conrad, Down Beat
"I have emerged with a heighened awareness of and respect for this talented, multifaceted and obviously
complex composer, arranger and performer." -- J. Robert Bragonier Jazz 52nd Street
Born and raised in Chicago, trumpeter, composer and arranger Sandke was introduced to jazz and the trumpet by his older brother, Jordan. He says he got into jazz "kind of chronically," beginning with Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong, followed by Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. He studied at Roosevelt University with Reinhold Schilke, a legendary teacher and trumpet maker, who was with the Chicago Symphony for many years. He moved to New York and worked for a decade as a guitarist. His roommate at the tine talked him into taking up the trumpet again. After six months back on the trumpet, Sandke was called to substitute for a friend in Vince Gordano's Nighthawks, a New York based traditional band. He lasted the night and stayed wit the band for the next five years. Concentrating on the traditional repertoire, Sandke also worked with saxophonist Bob Wilber.
It was through his association with Wilber that Sandke was brought to Benny Goodman's attention. After hearing Sandke play a chorus or two of "Get Happy" (now the title track of his second Concord Jazz release) Benny Goodman hired Randy on the spot to play with his small group. In 1985, Goodman assembled a big band, which included Sandke on the trumpet. Sandke was featured on Goodman's PBS broadcast "Let's Dance," and on Goodman's final recordings. He played with Goodman until Benny 's death in June of 1986.
In addition to recording with Goodman, Sandke has also recorded with Ray Brown, Buck Clayton, Michael Brecker, George Wein's Newport All-Stars, John Hendricks, Ralph Sutton, Kenny Davern, John Pizzarelli, Al Grey, Dizzy Gillespie, The World's Greatest Jazz Band, Flip Phillips, Clark Terry, Mel Tormé, Joe Williams, Susannah McCorkle, Billy Eckstein, Kenny Burrell, Ira Sullivan, Doc Severinson, and many others, including such entertainers as Woody Allen, Bill Cosby and Steve Allen.
Sandke has performed at festivals, clubs and concerts around the world. He has toured Europe over twenty times and performed extensively throughout Japan, the United States of America, Canada and India. In New York, Sandke has performed as a soloist in Carnegie Hall over a dozen times, appeared regularly at the Kool and JVC jazz festivals since 1984, and Dick Hyman's "Jazz in July" series at the 92nd Street Y. Nightclub appearances have included the Village Vanguard, Fat Tuesday's, the Blue Note, the Knitting Factory, the Five Spot, J's the Village Gate, Eddie Condon's, Michael's Pub, and the Cafe Carlisle. Other worldwide concert appearances have included the Kennedy Center, Avery Fisher Hall, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, the Hollywood Bowl, Philadelphia Academy of Music, Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Barbizon in London, the Hamburg Musikhalle, and Symphony Hall in Osaka, Japan.
As a composer Sandke has received two NEA grants, and he has pieces performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Concert Hall, and the Greenwich House in New York City. In 1995 the Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra performed three of Sandke's orchestral pieces. The famed Carnegie Hall Jazz Band has performed four of his suites and has recorded one of Sandke's arrangements. He has been named in the Downbeat Critics poll as a "talent deserving wider recognition."