Marty Napoleon, Pianist
Marty Napoleon’s greatest claim to fame is his tenure with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars, but his musical experience has been broad and deep for more than six decades. A versatile pianist, Napoleon’s early career included stints with Chico Marx, Joe Venuti, Lee Castle, Charlie Barnet, and, in 1945, Gene Krupa. He worked with the Memphis Five, a group led by Napoleon’s uncle, trumpeter Phil Napoleon, in the early ‘50s. There was also a stint with Charlie Ventura’s Big Four, leading to his first sojourn with Armstrong from 1952-1953. He joined forces with his brother Teddy for a two-piano quartet in 1955, and also worked with Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Shavers, and Red Allen. Napoleon rejoined Armstrong during Pops’ twilight years (off and on from 1966-1971), and semi-retired in the 1980s.
Known for his kinetic sense of humor and joie de vivre, Napoleon’s insights are fascinating, since he performed with many of the greatest musicians of his day, and can reveal an insider’s view of the golden era of the music.
Listen to an excerpt from this interview here