Bodek Janke

drummer · percussionist
composer · arranger

New release

Bodek Janke & Kristjan Randalu: Double Standard

The musical partnership between Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu and Polish drummer Bodek Janke reaches back over three decades, when the two – still in their school days – together formed their very first bands. They have collaborated in various constellations, including as a duo, on and off ever since, together appearing on ten albums, combining jazz and other improvisational idioms with a variety of folkloric traditions in what Jazztimes Magazine has dubbed displays of “visceral excitement and engrossing interplay.” Double Standard is the first recorded documentation of the duo’s exceptional craft since the 2008 live-album, simply titled Live, which Jazztimes went on to call “a thrilling ride”. On the new EP, Randalu and Janke explore a set of jazz standards from an angular perspective, dissecting familiar melodies and changes with transfigured time signatures, playful polyrhythms and all the musical intimacy they have been developing for so many years.




About Double Standard

The programme kicks off with “At Last” – Janke and Randalu inject the melody with a rhythmic twist, creating an elastic groove that invites their solos to jump off the page. On the duo’s pass at Miles Davis’s “So What” there’s little sign left of any cool-jazz. Instead, the familiar melody, sped-up and re-assembled with different note-lengths, gives-way to an intricate piano pattern, from which point the pianist and drummer explore a variety of variations on the established theme, culminating in a thunderous crescendo. Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” is approached in nine-time, featuring heavy backbeat emphasis and free-wheeling runs across the keys, as Janke inflects the vamp-like tune with shifting metric designs and full-hearted fills. It is Herbie Hancock after all, who called Kristjan Randalu “a dazzling piano player”, and here Randalu does his virtuoso reputation full justice.

The Paul Desmond standard “Take Five” in the duo’s approach has a four-pulse structured in quintuplets before the B-section introduces the title-lending 5/4 time signature. Randalu and Janke develop the music with fierce snare-work and deep digs into the keys before concluding the proceedings with an oblique rendering of “Blue Bossa”. This particular take was recorded in 2020 – a time when tracking in the same room together was near-impossible, leading to this entire project being recorded remotely. A fact that speaks to the quality of these two protagonists who, even across the distance, are able to create complex and flowing interplay.

There’s a particularly wide idiomatic range at play in the conversations of this experienced musical team, and the players’ respectively unique instrumental signatures elegantly blend them together to an energetic, even funk-infused whole that amounts to far more than the sum of its two parts.


Bodek is a great drummer and percussionist: subtle, groovy and precise.

— Django Bates

Above-average. A magic moment of improvised music. Janke makes drums and cymbals sing.

— Suedkurier

Pure rhythm... a dazzling representation of jazz.

— Main Post

Janke’s drumming is a masterpiece, his distinct and emotional playing is surpassing.


Bodek is making his own rules and that´s a good way to go.


Infectious groove

— All About Jazz

Master of many dialects

Bodek Janke is one of today´s most sought after drummers and percussionists of the international jazz and world music scenes. His unique and outstanding way of playing the drums, Indian tabla and various percussion instruments has given him opportunities to collaborate with Yo-Yo Ma, Lars Danielsson, Bill Evans, Bobo Stenson, Leszek Możdżer, Gilad Hekselman, Nuria Rial, the WDR, NDR & HR Radio Bigbands, Jasper van´t Hof, Kinan Azmeh, Kristjan Randalu, Petros Klampanis, Tarek Yamani, the Turtle Island & Atom String Quartets, and many others.

Dubbed as ´a master of many dialects´ by New York´s drum legend John Riley, Bodek´s distinctive sound was recorded on more than 200 albums as a sideman. He has also recorded 10 albums under his own name.

His current quartet, SONG, with its first released recording in 2019 has already spread enthusiasm among international audiences; with the second album, SONG2 to be released in February 2020. It features the Namibian vocalist Shishani Vranckx, Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu, British bassist Philip Donkin, the Atom String Quartet from Poland, plus guest appearances of saxophonist Bill Evans, guitarist Gilad Hekselman and trumpeter Sebastian Studnitzky.

Besides his travels and work as a musician, Bodek writes music for large ensembles & orchestras. A snippet from his first symphonic piece The Mantra Suite was premiered and critically acclaimed in March 2019 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Background / Selected Awards

Being born into a Polish-Russian musician family, it was obvious for Bodek to approach a professional musical career from an early age. His mother Olga Janke taught him his first piano lessons at the age of 3 and his aunt, Tatyana Kamysheva taught him composition and music theory.

During Bodek’s childhood, the political turmoil in his Polish homeland meant that Bodek and his family had to relocate to Germany where he attended the Badisches Konservatorium in Karlsruhe. Here he received his classical percussion and music theory education. During his teenage years, Bodek already became an internationally acclaimed marimba virtuoso.

From 1998 to 2004 he studied jazz drums and composition at the Academy of Music of Cologne and graduated with distinction. In 2004 he began a Masters degree of Arts and Music Performance at City College New York City, where he graduated in 2007. During his 6 year long stay (2004-2010) in New York City he had the opportunity to work with various artists such as David Liebman, Billy Harper, Ben Monder and Dave Binney. He performed several times at Carnegie Hall (where his arrangement of Wings, a composition by tabla maestro Pandit Samir Chatterjee, was premiered by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra before Anoushka Shankar’s performance), and amazed many of the city´s legendary clubs and their audiences with his music (such as Iridium, Smalls, The Knitting Factory, 55 Bar, Rockwood Music Hall, Cornelia Street Café).

Both his international performances, recording sessions and teaching masterclasses have been an important source of inspiration for his music and work ever since. In 2010 Bodek moved back to Germany, maintaining a busy working schedule both as a leader and sideman. In the meantime he has been filling vacancies for teaching positions in several universities such as Musikhochschule Köln, Folkwang Musikschule Essen, and Musikhochschule Mannheim.

Since 2013 he has been creating the Centre for Music, Culture and Health in Przesieka (Poland), where he organizes an annual meeting - the international Summer Exchange Festival, drawing people from all cultures, religions and continents which is not only attended by musicians, but also yoga teachers & health practitioners to the beautiful little village in the Giant Mountains / Lower Silesia.

Besides appearances on jazz festivals such as Moers Jazz, Izmir Caz Festivali, Jazzycolors Paris, Jazz Au Chellah Rabat, Jazz from A to Z Almaty, Jazzopen Stuttgart, and concert engagements at The Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Centre (Washington DC), the Philharmonics of Cologne, Essen, Warsaw und Almaty, the Boulez Saal in Berlin, Bodek performed several times at Schloss Elmau and recorded music for labels such as Universal, ACT, Sony Music, Enja, Melodia, Jazz´n´Arts and Neuklang.

In 2008 he was awarded both the Jazzpreis Baden-Württemberg, Germany’s highest endowed award for jazz musicians and the German Records Critics’ Award. In 2010 he was voted best soloist of the year at the Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis competition in Mannheim and he won the 1st prize at the 4th International Bucharest Jazz Competition. Bodek was scholarship holder of the Baden-Württemberg Arts Foundation, the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, and the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead in Washington. In 2015 he was awarded with the renowned world-music distinction RUTH, at the TFF Rudolstadt Music Festival, as a part of the multicultural project Eurasians Unity.


SONG is a modern, 21st-century response to the world of singer-songwriters, and their songs - both from our current times and the 20th century. A heavy clash of musical cultures paves the way towards working on new rhythmic, melodic and harmonic structures, surprising the listener with fresh, new sounds from a composer and arranger with an open mind and professional ears for "hits".

The format of "the song" per se is, globally speaking, the most accessible kind of music to everybody.

Touring band:

  • Shishani Vranckx - vocals
  • Kristjan Randalu - piano
  • Phil Donkin - bass
  • Bodek Janke - drums & percussion

Global Dance Kulture

Understanding music as a universal language, Bodek founded this improvised music & dance project in 2002. It took him around the world to countless festivals, inciting him to cooperations with numerous artists - musicians and dancers of all musical genres - from jazz, contemporary, classical to world and electronic music.

Grupa Janke Randalu

With his longtime friend and collaborator, the Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu, Bodek has founded an unusual duo of a unique format. A tightrope walk between contemporary classical music and jazz, both artists have completely mastered their respective language on their instrument and talk effortlessly in the realm of improvisational interplay.

Touring band:

  • Kristjan Randalu - piano
  • Bodek Janke - drums & percussion

East Drive

A power trio, guitar, bass and drums, rooted in eastern Europe - with a distinctive blended sound of Russian melancholy, Balkan virtuosity, and Western groove.

Touring band:

  • Vitaliy Zolotov - guitar
  • Philipp Bardenberg - bass
  • Bodek Janke - drums

Samba On Tabla

Bodek´s soon-to-be published project: A completely new and groundbreaking mix of the traditions of the Indian classical drums with the most popular dance rhythms from Brazil. Expect to be surprised and stunned by a world of sounds never heard before.

Mantra Suite

An orchestral work addressing the five human values Love, Peace, Truth, Righteousness and Non-Violence, inspired by a hindu prayer, a so-called "Mantra".

Summer Exchange Festival

Since 2012, Bodek has been inviting and gathering with a group of musicians, artists, wholistic healers, yoga teachers, and generally curious and conscious people in the Giant Mountains (Lower Silesia, Poland) every August. It is a meeting of music, creativity, improvisation, a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle in the middle of raw nature. Without borders, without judgment and without fear for new encounters.

As a sideman

  • Petros Klampanis Trio
  • Marcus Stockhausen Wild Life
  • Tarek Yamani Trio
  • Kinan Azmeh
  • Paul Heller & Jasper van't Hof
  • Christoph Beck Trio
  • Morgenland Allstars
  • Dima Orsho
  • Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr

Own projects

  • 2024
  • Double Standard
  • 2020
  • SONG2
  • 2018
  • SONG
  • 2017
  • East Drive, "Savka i Griška"
  • 2013
  • East Drive feat. Vadim Neselovskyi, "Studio Konzert" (LP)
  • East Drive, "Folksongs 2"
  • 2011
  • East Drive feat. Olivia Trummer, "Folksongs"
  • 2008
  • Global Dance Kulture

Selected sideman recordings

  • 2020
  • Norma Winstone & NDR Bigband, Steve Gray´s "Songs of the Auvergne"
  • Aleksey Malakhau, "Losch"
  • Olga Konkova Trio, "Live at Bird´s Eye"
  • 2019
  • SteinMays, "Fegad"
  • Gosia Rogala, "Winter"
  • Tom Tykwer / Gene Pritzker, "Babylon Berlin"
  • Kinan Azmeh feat. Yo-Yo Ma & Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin, "Uneven Sky"
  • Matthias Schriefl, "Moving Krippenspielers"
  • Mr.Shirazy, "One"
  • Mara Minjoli & João Luis Quintet, "Afro Sambas"
  • Olga Konkova Trio, "Live at Bird´s Eye"
  • Petros Klampanis, "Irrationalities"
  • Juliana da Silva feat. Tony Lakatos, "Juliana"
  • Christoph Beck, "Tartaros"
  • Nuria Rial, Dima Orsho & Musica Alta Ripa, "Mother"
  • 2018
  • WDR Bigband & Pedro Giraudo, "An Argentinian in New York"
  • Jan Prax Quartet feat. Soweto Kinch, "Ascending"
  • Eurasians Unity, "Eurasians Unity"
  • Dima Orsho, "Hidwa"
  • Maria Palatine, "My Voice is my Plea"
  • Christoph Beck, "Tartaros"
  • Ricardo Fiuza, "Live at Bird´s Eye"
  • Frank Elting / Native Instruments, "Straylight"
  • Nuria Rial, Dima Orsho & Musica Alta Ripa, "Mother"
  • 2017
  • Florian Betz / Bodek Janke, "Flow Beatz live at Bauer Studios"
  • Ola Tomaszewska Septet, "The Music of Kenny Wheeler / live at NOSPR"
  • David Helbock, "Live at Saalfelden"
  • 2016
  • Kiki Manders: "Love is Yours is Mine"
  • Francis Samuel / Peter Reiter: "Strange Things"
  • Benedikt Reidenbach: "Eins"
  • 2015
  • Peter Herborn feat. WDR Radio Choir, Bobo Stenson, Anders Jormin, "Wild Nights, Wild Nights"
  • Morgenland Allstars
  • European Brazil Allstars
  • Petros Klampanis, "Minor Dispute"
  • Peter Reiter / ARTE, "Regeneration"
  • Christina Lux, "Embrace live"
  • Steven Bolarinwa, "Mysterious Rendezvous"
  • Ihsan Güvercin, "Ey Benim"
  • NDR Bigband featuring Aynur Doğan, "Live at the Morgenland Festival"
  • Nicole Johänntgen, "Moncaup"
  • Laura Robles "Tracatatatun"
  • 2014
  • Urban Wedding Band "7479"
  • NDR Morgenland All Star Band "Dastan"
  • Mr. Shirazy & The Exile Orchestra "Ocean"
  • Wolf Kerschek & NDR Symphoniker "Symphonic Jazz"
  • Matthias Schriefl & Tamara Lukasheva "Matria"
  • Jazz Ensemble Baden-Württemberg "Edition 13"
  • Nice Brazil "Pra Voce"
  • Samy Deluxe "Männlich"
  • Vadim Neselovskyi "Bez Granitz" LIVE direct-to-2-track
  • Joscha Oetz "Perfektomat"
  • 2013
  • Aynur Dogan, "Hewar"
  • Gjertrud Lunde "Hjemklang"
  • Urban Wedding Band feat. Tony Lakatos,"Hit"
  • Trio 120 "Enclosure"
  • 2012
  • The New York Flamenco Project,"MOSAICO"
  • Francisco Pacho Davila, "Chinese Souvenir"
  • SWR Bigband, "Die Besten aus Südwesten"
  • Matthias Schriefl´s "Six, Alps and Jazz"
  • 2011
  • Olivia Trummer, Poesiealbum
  • Steffen Schorn's "Universe of Possibilities"
  • Volker Goetze Orchestra, "NY 10027"
  • 2010
  • Peter Herborn feat. NDR Bigband & Radio Choir, Pernell Saturnino, Almut Kühne, "Love Poems"
  • Aynur Dogan, "Rewend"
  • Olivia Trummer, "Nobody Knows"
  • NDR Radio Choir / Peter Herborn "Love Poems"
  • Jocelyn Medina, "We Are Water"
  • Alper Yilmaz feat. David Binney, "Over The Clouds"
  • 2009
  • Jeremy Kittel, "Chasing Sparks"
  • Kristjan Randalu, "Desde Manhattan"
  • Samyukta Ranganathan, "Ariya"
  • 2008
  • Olivia Trummer Trio "Westwind"
  • Stephan Braun Trio, "The Raid"
  • 2007
  • Hans Fickelscher, "European Brazil Project"
  • Volker Götze, "Orchestra"
  • Bläck Fööss, "Do laach et Hätz, do jrins die Fott"
  • Anikó Kanthak, "Anikó"
  • 2006
  • Siiri Sisask & Kristjan Randalu, "Teine Jälg"
  • Schäl Sick Brass Band, "Prasti Music"
  • 2005
  • Kristjan Randalu Quartet, "Tidbits"
  • Sergey Zhilin Trio, "Tchaikovsky in Jazz"
  • 2004
  • Maria Palatine, "Reflets"
  • Didgerission, "Didgerission"
  • 2001
  • Didgerission, "Maxi-Single"
  • 2000
  • Maria Palatine, "Der Blaue Strahl"
  • Maria Palatine, "Goetz Von Berlichingen"
  • 1999
  • Maria Palatine, "Refugee"
  • Maria Palatine, "Sounds of Glass And Light"

Ari Honig

"I always say that next to playing free, playing standards is the quickest way to communicate through music. You can get a very clear idea of who someone is musically by listening to them play a standard. This record is certainly no exception. You can taste the depth, connection and creativity between Bodek Janke and Kristian Randalu on Double Standard."

Martin Patmos — Modern Drummer

"Janke’s project is ambitious. Balancing the piano/bass/drums lineup of a jazz trio with singer Shishani Vranckx’s dancing voice, while a string quartet moves in and out of the palette, ought to be a challenge. Yet Janke holds his concept together and makes it work with confidence from the kit. Utilizing a mix of originals and ’80s/’90s pop tunes, the album has an organic, unified sound and approach. While each element of the group gets their moment to shine, Janke’s playing is of note. Creative punctuations, rapid tom fills, and world-beat grooves abound. A pop tune such as “Take on Me” or “Dancing in the Dark” might not seem like obvious choices, but as Janke’s syncopated groove picks up and tom/cymbal accents accumulate, his vision becomes clear. Original songs continue the aesthetic. Sensitive and dramatic, Janke is a drummer with chops, feel, and vision."

Dionizy Piatkowski — Era Jazzu

"The Song album sounds interesting, it is neatly arranged and - without being overcomplex - stylistically convincing. Singer Melissa Mary Ahern is firmly rooted in the convention, plays with music and lyrics, tries to be an obvious part of the whole band. For the drummer-leader, the task is extremely difficult, as he must navigate between his ambition and building the sound and structure. He needs to serve musicians with what is his idea and what should be best realized. "Song" is therefore not a compilation of ideas, but rather a well-thought-out complex, as if with one interesting song which can be called a hit. This is "Song" presented through a team-perception of music, artistry and creative restraint with respect for musical tradition. "This universal language - music, consists of many dialects. Bodek Janke skillfully mastered more dialects than anyone else" says the outstanding American drummer John Riley about Bodek Janke."

John Riley — The Village Vanguard Orchestra, New York City

“The Universal Language - music - is made up of many dialects. Bodek Janke is a master of more musical dialects than anyone I can think of (...) Bodek tells a joyous music story by combining the world's musics in a personal and sophisticated way. Enjoy the journey.”


“With an intuitive grasp for the moment, careful, creative and like a mastermind at the same time... a masterful performance in the soundscapes of jazz.”

Tyler Duncan, Michigan

“Having produced recording sessions with Bodek, I can attest to what a truly marvelous musician and human being he is. His talents are astounding, with a diversity of influences that is incredibly vast, musically connecting the ends of the earth. Music is the language of all people, and in this language Bodek is a poet. He represents what this society is striving for - unification through work, love, and beauty.”

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Management & booking

  • Joanna Janke
  • Berlin, Germany