|Decades:||1950s 1960s 1970s 1990s|
2 September 1901, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, d. 30 September 1990, Miami, Florida, USA. A child prodigy, Napoleon came from a musical family, two of his nephews being Marty and Teddy Napoleon. He played trumpet in public at the age of five and made his first records 10 years later. In 1922 he was a founder member of the Original Memphis Five, an exceptionally good dixieland band that made numerous records, many of which sold very well. By the end of the 20s, however, Napoleon had folded the band and gone into studio work where he remained for a decade or more. At the end of the 30s, after an unsuccessful attempt to run a big band, he stopped playing for some years.
In the early 50s he returned to the music scene, reviving the Memphis Five and thereafter leading a succession of dixieland bands. He continued to play well into the 80s, often at his own club, Napoleons Retreat, in Miami, Florida. A fiery player with an attacking style,...