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Album Review

Guitarist Randy Napoleon offers his second CD after having worked with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, pianists Benny Green, and Freddy Cole, in addition to touring with popular singer Michael Bublé. With bassist David Wong and drummer Quincy Davis, plus either Green at the piano or Jared Gold on organ, Napoleon consistently shows that he is in full command of his instrument without resorting to overindulgent solos like many young players. Green's subtle playing in the bossa nova setting of "Moon and Sand" provides a perfect backdrop for the leader. The impromptu take of "With a Song in My Heart" comes off flawlessly in a brisk performance. Gold and Napoleon play a game of cat-and-mouse in the humorous take of "No Moon at All," which also features Davis' crisp brushwork. Napoleon's tasty, spacious interpretation of the magical ballad "A Time for Love" is yet another highlight. Napoleon's originals also show his promise as a composer. "These Are Things We Throw Away" is built upon a repeated lick, a solid post-bop vehicle that is definitely a keeper. The subtle opener, "Face the Truth," is a conversational piece that might appeal to a singer if it only had a lyric. Keep an eye on this talented guitarist, as he is destined to make a name for himself.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1977, Randy Napoleon was interested in jazz from childhood, due to his parents Greg and Davi, avid jazz listeners and supporters. The family moved to Ann Arbor, MI, and at age 13 Napoleon won a soloists award at the Heritage Jazz Competition in nearby Ypsilanti, sponsored by radio station WEMU-FM. From there it was music studies at Pioneer High School, where he played in their jazz big band directed by trumpeter and educator Louis Smith. Upon graduation from high school,...
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