The Fred Knapp Quartet featuring Randy Napoleon, a west Michigan-based swinging instrumental jazz group, will put their unique spin on classic standards during an online concert for West Shore Community College’s Performing Arts Living Room Series on Sat. Dec. 12. The event starts at 7:30 p.m., and there is no charge to view the performance.
Knapp, a drummer, vocalist, pianist, composer, and educator, will be joined by Matthew Fries on piano, Rob Hartman on bass, and Randy Napoleon on guitar.
Knapp is known for having a special touch on the drum set with the ability to adapt to any playing situation. He has studied with Quincy Davis, Keith Hall, Tim Froncek, and Rupert Kettle. He also studied jazz piano with Dr. Steve Zegree and drum set with legendary jazz drummer Billy Hart, while getting a music degree from Western Michigan University.
For more than two decades, Knapp has been busy performing in the Mid-West with his trio, the John Shea Trio, and working as a freelance musician. He was named “Jazz Musician of the Year” in 2019, by the West Michigan Jazz Society, and also has a thriving teaching studio where he teaches piano and drum set.
Napoleon, a University of Michigan graduate, has toured nationally and internationally with pianist Benny Green and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and crooner Michael Buble. He is featured on Buble’s Grammy-nominated CD “Caught in the Act.”
Today, Napoleon is one of the most sought-after guitarists in New York, where he is known as a forward-thinking musician with a passion for the jazz guitar tradition. In addition to backing the best, he leads his own bands, an organ trio, a trombone trio, a quartet with piano, and a three-horn sextet that includes organ, drums, trumpet, tenor sax, and trombone.
Guitarist George Benson calls Napoleon “sensational” and the “Detroit Free Press” critic Mark Stryker says Napoleon “plays with a gentle, purring tone that makes you lean in close to hear its range of color and articulation.”
All of the performances in the Living Room Series are free of charge and more information and links to the performances can be found on the college’s web site.
The performance will also be archived and available for viewing following the livestream performance.