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Marty Napoleon RIP

Marty Napoleon RIP



Greetings jazz lovers, 
It is with sadness we tell you that piano legend, and
longtime SBS friend, Marty Napoleon passed away
Monday evening, April 27th.
A full obituary follows below. Along with details of his
wake on Thursday, in Glen Cove, NY.
We leave you with a link to a clip we sent recently
when we relayed the news that Marty was in the
hospital. While this is a repeat, it is well worth a
second viewing, and vital and amazing if you have
not watched it previously. A fantastic performance
of Marty at the peak of his powers. Enjoy again, or
discover anew: 
Wake info:
For anyone who would like to pay their respects, 

the family will be receiving friends and family on 
Thursday, April 30th from 3 – 5pm and 7 – 9pm.
McLaughlin Kramer Funeral Home
220 Glen Street, Glen Cove, NY 11542 
(516) 676-8600  *  Map

June 2, 1921 – April 27, 2015

Marty Napoleon, a man who lived a life of true passion, has died.
Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, & Charlie Barnett 
are just some of the jazz luminaries who Marty played piano with.
Born in Brooklyn on June 2, 1921 to Sicilian immigrants Matteo Napoli 
and Giovanina (nee Giamporcaro) (a/k/a Marty and Jenny Napoleon). 
Marty was destined for a life in music. Music constantly filled the
Napoleon household. His father Marty played banjo. His mother Jenny 
played guitar and sang. Older brothers Teddy (piano), Andy (drums), 
older sister Marge Alleluia and younger sister Jo Shine were vocal-
ists. And his Uncle Phil gained fame as "Phil Napoleon and His 
Memphis Five". Marty's father and his brother Andy were also artists.
Blessed with innate talent and combined with a passionate dedication, 
Marty began his illustrious career as a teenager, playing with Bob Astor's 
band. At age 20, he joined Chico Marx and his Orchestra, with lead singer, 
16 year old Mel Torme.
He soon became a favorite of all the top jazz musicians, who wanted the 
remarkably talented and always jovial Marty to join them: George Auld, 
Teddy Powell, Joe Venuti, Lee Castle, Charlie Barnett, Benny Goodman, 
Gene Krupa, Charlie Shavers, Coleman Hawkins, Red Allen & Charlie Ventura.
Soon he became part of the legendary, "The Big Four", which included Marty, 
Buddy Rich, Chubby Jackson and Charlie Ventura.
He went on to form several groups who gained wide-spread fame… particularly 
in the early days of the Hamptons. Included in these groups were Ronnie Odrich, 
Doc Severinson, and Morgana King, among others.  Marty also had a two-piano 
quartet with his brother Teddy on the second piano, in Las Vegas.
Marty gained his greatest fame and joined the pantheon of all-time greats playing 
with Louis Armstrong and His All Stars, replacing Earl Hines in 1952. He toured 
the world with the All Stars. They were featured on the Dean Martin Show, Johnny 
Carson, Dick Cavett, Jackie Gleason and Danny Kaye shows. They also did an 
NBC special with Herb Alpert.
He continued playing with "Satchmo" over the years until Louis' final performance 
at the Waldorf Astoria. Marty's distinctive piano virtuosity can be heard on many of 
Armstrong's biggest hits, including "Hello Dolly", "Mame", & "It's A Wonderful World".
Over the course of his storied career Marty played at the top jazz venues – Michael's 
Pub, the Metropole, Basin Street East, and the World Trade Center.  He performed 
at the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world – Newport, Kool, JVC, and San 
Remo (in Italy).   Marty also performed a one-man concert at Carnegie Hall.
1987 was a particularly good year for Marty. He was selected to play with Lionel 
Hampton at the historic Frank Sinatra Show at Carnegie Hall…and topped that by 
playing at The White House for President Ronald Reagan.
Marty's movie credits include "To Beat The Band", "The Glenn Miller Story", 
"All That Jazz", "The French Connection", "Raging Bull" and "Tootsie".
Marty never lost his passion for music, playing jazz concerts into his early 90's 
with his friends, drummer Ray Mosca, bassist Bill Crow & clarinetist Ron Odrich.
But Marty Napoleon's passion extended way beyond the keys of his piano. 
Marty was all about family. Marty was married to the love of his life, the late 
"Bebe" (nee Marie Giordano) Napoleon for 67 years. He was a loving father to 
Jeanine and her husband Steve Goldman, and to Marty Jr. and his wife Teresa. 
He adored his grandchildren Cherie Napoleon Goldman, Todd Goldman, Marty 
Warren Napoleon and Brent Napoleon, as they adored him.  (Brent was instru-
mental in helping his grandfather put together all his biographical notes for a 
book.) He was also the cherished great-grandfather of Alexander Napoleon Inoa.
The world will miss this amazing talent.
His friends and family will miss this amazing man.

Phil Stern
The Sidney Bechet Society


This E Mail Is Being Sent by:
Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail:



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