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Detroit Free Press critic Mark Stryker says he "plays with a gentle, purring tone that makes you lean in close to hear its range of color and articulation." Washington Post critic Mike Joyce praises his "exceptionally nimble finger-style technique." And comparing him to Wes Montgomery, music critic Michael G. Nastos says "he displays an even balance of swing, soul, and single-line or chord elements that mark an emerging voice dedicated to tradition and universally accessible jazz values."
It's no surprise that Randy Napoleon is one of the most sought after guitarists in New York today. His CD, Between Friends, has been drawing praise from all quarters.
Currently, he is touring with legendary singer/pianist Freddy Cole and appears on Cole's 2009 album, Live at Dizzy's Club: The Dreamer in Me. He also has been writing and arranging for his own bands and for other performers on recordings awaiting release.
Napoleon's career took off one month after moving to New York City, when he joined pianist Benny Green's trio and achieved international exposure. Since that auspicious debut, he continued to make a name for himself as a forward-thinking musician with a passion for the jazz guitar tradition.
He played many major European festivals and toured Japan with the acclaimed Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (CHJO). Napoleon's connection to this LA-based orchestra dates back to his college days, when Jeff Hamilton heard him perform with the University of Michigan Big Band. In 2004, he appeared on a TV special in Tokyo with CHJO, and recorded with them (Live at MCG Jazz).
In the fall of 2004, he began a three-year tour with Michael Bublé, appearing with the chart-topping crooner on TV in cities that include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Milan, Paris, Sydney, Toronto (Canada AM and CityLine), LA and New York, (Letterman; Leno; The View; Today, Regis and Kelly; The Ellen DeGeneres Show; a PBS special, Caught in the Act; The Radio Music Awards, Dancing with the Stars), on BBC radio, and on the stages of prestigious music halls all over the globe.
In January 2007, he returned to London to appear on BBC radio and in clubs with one of his own trios to celebrate the release of Between Friends. This trio, a collaboration with organist Jared Gold and drummer Quincy Davis, continues to attract attention internationally.
Napoleon has played with other major jazz bands, including the Bill Charlap Trio, and with top cabaret performers Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano. He also works with some of the finest musicians of his own generation, among them Melissa Morgan, Josh Brown, Gerald Clayton, and Sachal Vasandani.
When he isn't on the road, Randy Napoleon lives and performs in New York City.