Concertgoers can enjoy high-quality, live jazz when Dickinson College presents a night with guitarist Randy Napoleon and the Faculty Jazz Ensemble.
The free concert, presented in celebration of homecoming and family weekend, will be held 8 p.m. Friday at the Holland Union Building, located at 28 N. College St., in Carlisle. According to the college, the concert will feature popular American songbook standards and a few other surprises.
Napoleon, who is appearing as an artist in residence at the college, is a world-renowned musician, composer and arranger. Others events that the general public is invited to include a masterclass from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and a dinner on Saturday evening at the The Popel Shaw Center for Race and Ethnicity, which will include a conversation with Napoleon about his life and work. For more details, readers should call 717-245-1568.
The Faculty Jazz Ensemble features Tom Strohman on winds, Jeffrey Wohlbach on trumpet, Greg Strohman on trombone, Jim Miller on bass and David Zygmunt on drums.
Napoleon is known as an innovative musician with a strong respect for jazz tradition. He is active on the jazz circuit and tours regularly with legendary singer and pianist Freddy Cole, as well as with his own trio, quartet and three-horn sextet. He recorded with Benny Green, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and Michael Bublé before joining Cole in 2007. Napoleon did the arrangements for most of Cole’s last five albums, including the 2010 Grammy-nominated “Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B.” Napoleon has also toured with jazz giants Bill Charlap and Houston Person.
Throughout his career, Napoleon has performed at the Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, The Kennedy Center, Radio City Music Hall, Royal Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia
Napoleon has made many TV appearances, mostly as a sideman. He has performed on shows hosted by David Letterman, Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Lewis and Regis and Kelley, as well as on “Today” and the PBS special, “Caught in the Act.” Formerly based in New York City, Napoleon now resides in Michigan where he is an assistant professor at Michigan State University.
Napoleon has four records out as a band leader, including the recording “Soon,” which was released in 2016. Legendary guitarist George Benson calls Napoleon “sensational.” He has also been praised in the press for his “articulation,” “lyrical solo lines” and for his “exceptionally nimble finger-style technique.”
Aside from this artist residency at Dickinson College, Napoleon has taught master classes and clinics at Bucknell University, Temple University, Humber College and Oakland University. He was invited to the college at the recommendation of Vincent Stephens, director of the Popel Shaw Center who is knowledgeable about Napoleon and thought that his high skill level and depth of professional experiences would make him an excellent guest artist.