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.
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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
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.