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Randy Napoleon: Common Tones

It’s easy to see why Randy Napoleon has been the guitarist of choice for Freddie Cole’s hip band for a number of years. He’s got a clean sound quite similar to Oscar or Johnny Moore, a relaxed sense of swing and a Old School feel for soloing. He even does some nice composing here, mixing his own tunes with some clever covers.

He also mixes and matches partners, ranging from a pair of cozy duets, one with guitarist Jocelyn Gould on “The Song Is You,” and the other teamed with pianist Xavier Davis for an intimate original “If DW Were Here.” He’s then moving up to a trio format with Louie Leager/b and Nicholas Bracewell for a dainty swinger on his own “How It Might Have Been” and an easy bouncer of “I Married an Angel” before adding horns from Marcus Howell/as, Drew Kilpela/tb and Diego Rivera or Seth Ebersole for a bopping “Bakin’” and a clean and fluid remake of the Beach Boy fav “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” This one’s a joy; he could make Kenny G swing!