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.
Pure rhythm... a dazzling representation of jazz.
— Main Post
Janke’s drumming is a masterpiece, his distinct and emotional playing is surpassing.
— BERND KONRAD
Bodek is making his own rules and that´s a good way to go.
— PETER ERSKINE
— All About Jazz
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.
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.
Bodek´s currently most ambitious project, 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.
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.
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.
A power trio, guitar, bass and drums, rooted in eastern Europe - with a distinctive blended sound of Russian melancholy, Balkan virtuosity, and Western groove.
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.
An orchestral work addressing the five human values Love, Peace, Truth, Righteousness and Non-Violence, inspired by a hindu prayer, a so-called "Mantra".
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.
"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."
"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."
“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.”
“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.”