Teddy Napoleon

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Teddy Napoleon, the nephew of trumpeter Phil Napoleon and the older brother of pianist Marty Napoleon, was the least-known of the three but he also had a productive career. A talented swing-oriented pianist,…
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Teddy Napoleon, the nephew of trumpeter Phil Napoleon and the older brother of pianist Marty Napoleon, was the least-known of the three but he also had a productive career. A talented swing-oriented pianist, Teddy had his first gig in 1933 with Lee Castle. He worked with Tommy Tompkins for a few years and then freelanced in New York. Napoleon played with the big bands of Johnny Messner and Bob Chester and then in 1944 he joined Gene Krupa's Orchestra. Teddy played with Krupa on and off for 14 years including in his popular trio with Charlie Ventura and on most of his big band recordings of the 1944-49 period. Teddy was part of Krupa's Trio during their specialty numbers with Jazz at the Philharmonic. The pianist also worked with Flip Phillips, Bill Harris and Eddie Shu. In 1959 he moved to Florida (where Phil had relocated three years earlier) and led his own trio. Teddy's main influence was Teddy Wilson, but strangely enough he was never given a chance to lead his own record date.