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Randy Napoleon: The Jukebox Crowd

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A current member of Freddy Cole’s quartet and former sideman to Michael Bublé, the accomplished guitarist-composer-arranger Randy Napoleon demonstrates clear, concise fingerstyle technique on this winning collection of standards and originals. From his bluesy “Everybody Has Soul” to inventive remakes of Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows,” “I’m in the Mood for Love” (done as a crackling uptempo burner) and “Fools Rush In” (here a bossa nova), Napoleon delivers a warm, clean tone on his Stadler hollowbody guitar with deliberate, languid phrasing that is understated yet eminently swinging. His horn arrangements for trumpeter Justin Walter, tenor saxophonist Ben Jansson and trombonist Josh Brown add spice to this easygoing session, which is fueled by Hammond B3 organist Duncan W. McMillan and drummer Quincy Davis. But Napoleon closes the album out solo, with his fingerstyle gem “Our First Dance.”

Originally Published