Randy Napoleon

Primary Instrument: Guitar

Born: May 30, 1978    

Randy Napoleon

Guitarist Randy Napoleon is a performer, arranger and composer who currently tours with Freddy Cole and is on the faculty of the University of Michigan’s Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Previously, he toured with Benny Green, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and Michael Buble.

Napoleon arranged Cole’s last three albums, including Cole's Grammy-nominated 2010 release, Freddy Cole Sings for Mr. B, and Cole’s 2011 and 2012 releases Talk to Me and This and That. In addition to backing the best, he composes and arranges for his own bands, an organ trio, a quartet with piano, and a three-horn sextet that includes organ, drums, trumpet, tenor sax and trombone. His latest solo release, with the sextet, is “The Jukebox Crowd.”...
read more

“In the instrumental interludes, the [Freddy Cole] quartet plays swinging mainstream jazz that is always accessible and interesting. Napoleon has been with the group only a few months, but has already become an important part of what they provide musically...Cole stepped away from the piano for Luiz Bonfá's Morning of the Carnival, with some superb guitar work from Napoleon, who was simply sensational throughout the evening... “ Joe Lang, Jazz Improv NY

“Napoleon plays with a gentle, purring tone that makes you lean in close to hear its range of color and articulation, and his improvisations are true narratives, a collection of shapely melodies rather than a series of prepackaged licks.” Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

“Napoleon at times searches, not for the big fat notes, but the tiniest, trim, lean and bittersweet ones. His heaviness lies not in volume or weight, but in depth of spirit.” Michael G. Nastos, WEMU radio host

Napoleon’s sound can be likened to the classic elegance of jazz great Wes Montgomery.” Lawrence Cosentino, Lansing City Pulse

“Napoleon must be considered in the first rank of modern jazz guitarists.” Piotr Michalowski, Southeast Michigan Jazz Association

“Possessed of a technique informed by greats like Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass, Napoleon favors subtlety over flash, accenting his improvised solos with a languid swing and patient flourishes that are technically flawless, yet full of soul and feeling” Will Stewart, Ann Arbor News

“His melodic lines are clean and uncomplicated. He shows a sensitivity for song rather than a desire to show off.” Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“”Keep an eye on this talented guitarist, as he is destined to make a name for himself.” Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

“”The guitar sound is huge, the playing is radiant,” David Adler

“Randy Napoleon is the most exciting guitarist of our generation.” Michael Bublé, Warner Brothers recording artist

“His guitar lines are soulful and smart.” Marc S. Taras, Current Magazine

“He's terrific!” Bridget Apps, Senior Music Producer, BBC Radio

  • Enjoy The Moment

    PKO Records

This information is provided by or the profile administrator.

Primary Instrument:


Randy Napoleon studied at the University of Michigan School of Music and has learned from mentors including Freddy Cole, Benny Green, John Clayton, and Jeff Hamilton. He gives private lessons and offers clinics for colleges and conservatories. Hours and location vary, since he is on the road most of the time. Check Randy Napoleon's website to see when he will be performing in your city and drop him an e-mail to schedule a lesson.

Randy Napoleon endorses Stadler Guitars and D'Addario Strings.

Please Sign Up or Log In to send your inquiry.

Events Calendar

Sorry, there are no Randy Napoleon events available at this time. Submit one now.

TIP: Reach multiple calendar destinations with a single post. Learn now here.

comments powered by Disqus
Rank: 826 Views: 12,300 Fans: 3
Featured recording “The Jukebox Crowd”

The Jukebox Crowd
Gut String Records (2012)

Weekly Giveaways

Peter Lerner

Peter Lerner

About | Enter

Jamie Saft

Jamie Saft

About | Enter

Sun Trio

Sun Trio

About | Enter

Paul Bley

Paul Bley

About | Enter

An innovative and rich resource For Jazz Musicians

The All About Jazz musician database grows daily
with the help of musicians, supportive professionals and advocates.

Musician? Plug in and promote yourself today.

Learn how