Marty Napoleon
1921 - 2015
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NAPOLEON- Marty, Jazz Pianist, a man who lived a life of true passion has died April 27, 2015 at 93. 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 (AKA Marty & 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 vocalists. And his Uncle Phil gained fame as "Phil Napoleon & 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 and Charlie Ventura. Soon he became part of the legendary "The Big Four" which included Marty, Buddy Rich, Chubby Jackson and Charlie Ventura. 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 virtuoso can be heard on many of Armstrong's biggest hits, including "Hello Dolly", "Mame", and "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, JVG, and San Remo (in Italy). In 1992, Marty did 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" & "Tootsie." Marty never lost his passion for music, playing Jazz concerts into his early 90's with his friends Ray Mosca and 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, and they adored him. (Brent was instrumental 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. The family will receive friends Thursday, 3-5 and 7-9pm at McLaughlin Kramer Megiel Funeral Home, 220 Glen St., Glen Cove, NY. Religious Service Friday 12 noon. Interment St. John's Cemetery, Middle Village, N.Y.



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Published in Newsday on Apr. 29, 2015.
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19 entries
May 19, 2015
Hi Jeannine, was happy to hear from you. Not sure how to contact you. My email address is gancijm@cfl.r.com
Joan Marin Ganci
May 11, 2015
I was honored to know Marty only a short time while he lived at the Regency. I loved seeing the rapture on his face when we listened to his music and he relived the days he played. He will be missed by many and his talent will be remembered. RIP Marty.
Cheryl Mendelsohn
May 1, 2015
Another link to the golden era gone.condolences to his family.
Steve Alcott
May 1, 2015
Dear Brent... So very sad to loose such a legend in society. I am sure he impacted both family and friends tremendously in over 90 years. Our deepest sympathy to you and yours... Devin recently saw you at Rob Morrow;s grandfathers mass.. so nice you all support one another. Our deepest sympathy: Amanda, Devin and Alex Rallo
May 1, 2015
Thank you for the music and Rest in Peace. Love from Copenhagen - Denmark
Ole Mathiasen
April 30, 2015
So Long Marty. It was a plesure to meet you. Say Hello to Trombone Sam Komoroff.
In loving memory of a wonderful person.
Anthony DiFlorio
April 30, 2015
Deepest condolences to your family. The world has lost an amazing musician and a great man. My late dad, Charlie Schmitt loved to talk jazz with Marty. I like to think they are continuing their conversations. Thinking of all of you during this difficult time.
Carol Van Doren
April 30, 2015
I never met Marty but grew up hearing all about him, Teddy and Phil. I'm related to him through my maternal grandfather, Salvatore (George) Alfano.and great grandfather, Felice Alfano. We also grew up with music in our lives. Wish I could have seen Marty perform in person but I have watched and listened to many of his recordings. What a talented man....My condolences to his family and friends.
Joan Marin Ganci
April 30, 2015
TO THE..NAPOLEON FAMILY....IT IS WITH SINCERE SORROW THAT I HEARD OF THE PASSING OF...MARTY....HE LEFT A LEGACY HERE WITH HIS MUSIC,,,HIS GREAT PIANO PLAYING...I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY IN MY LIFE TO HAVE SEEN NARTY PLAY AT THE METROPOLE CAFE WHEN I WAS YOUNG...I WOULD STAND OUTSIDE LOOKING IN FROM THE CURB, WATCHING HIM PLAY WITH THE SO, SO MANY GREAT ARTISTS OF THE DAY...IN LATER YEARS, I WAS BLESSED ONCE AGAIN, AFTER READING AN ARTCLE IN NEWDAY FEATURE OF HIS BIRTHDAY...I WAS IN CONTACT WITH MARTY BECAUSE I SHARED SO MANY MEMORIES OF HIM..WHEN I MENTIONED TO HIM, GUYS LIKE HAP GORMELY, THE DRUMMER AT THE METROPOLE..HE KNEW EXACTLY THE MAN...I MYSELF, A NOT SO FAMOUS DRUUMER, NOW AGE 70...STUDIED WITH GENE KRUPA-AND COZY COLE....MARTY AND I CONVERSED ON THE TELEPHONE MANY TIMES WHEN HE TURNED 90.....AT ONE TIME IN 2013..I RECEIVED A CALL TO MY HOUSE ON NEW YEAR.S DAY......LONG BEHOLD..IT WAS MR. MARTY NAPOLEON, WISHING...ME...A HAPPY NEW YEAR....I CAN STILL HEAR HIS VOICE....IT WAS AN HONOR FOR ME TO KNW MARTY....MAYBE NOT AS CLOSE AS OTHERS, BUT.....HE KNEW ME AND HE CALLED ME HIS FRIEND...HE ALSO MENTIONED TO ME THEN..HIS BELOVED..BEBE..HIS WIFE..LOVED MY COUSIN HARRY GUARDINO...THE ACTOR....I WILL MISS MARTY AS SO MANY WILL ALSO...TO HIS FAMILY..GRANDKIDS..I CAN SAY...MARTY NAPOLEON..LIVES ON THRU...HIS BLOOD LINE...I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM....I.LL CLOSE THIS BY SAYING...DEATH ONLY MEANS...SEE YOU LATER.....SO MARTY...ILL SEE YOU LATER..WITH GENE AND ALL THE GREAT.S.......TODAY..YOUR SONG IS....WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHIN IN........SINCERELY...TONY GUARDINO
TONY GUARDINO
April 30, 2015
I had the great honor and pleasure of knowing and working with Marty for many years in NYC. He was a true gentleman of the highest order and one of the swingingest pianists ever. I will always cherish our time together on Buck Clayton's band and others. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Doug Lawrence
April 29, 2015
I have many great memories of going to see all the fabulous jazz sessions in New York. I especially loved listening to Marty Sr. playing the piano for just a few of us in his basement. I have him to thank for my love for jazz. My heartfelt condolences to Marty Jr., Jeanine and family.

Larry Streitman and Donna Giovannitti, Los Angeles, Ca.
April 29, 2015
I would like to send my deepest condolences to Marty Napoleon's family. It was a deep honor to have worked with Marty and to have known Marty through out the years. He will always remain in my heart and remain an inspiration to me whenever I pick up my guitar or sing a note. Marty was Top Notch and he will be missed by so many of us! His music will continue to live on and continue to be an inspiration to us all.
With deepest sympathy,
Roberta Fabiano
Roberta Fabiano
April 29, 2015
I never knew Marty Napoleon, but reading his obituary this morning gave me great pleasure. What a wonderful guy! What a full life! Thanks for providing so many fascinating and loving details. Condolences to his extended family.
Jim Armstrong
April 29, 2015
Marty will always live on through his music, a great gift he gave to all of us.
William von Zangenberg
April 29, 2015
I will never forget that warm smile as he stood in our home in Brooklyn! My parents were Josephine and Philip Corsentino. I followed both him and Uncle Philly and their music. He was always respected as a loving husband and father and his enormous gifts went beyond his music. I send my deepest condolences and will always listen with fondness and admiration to the music I remember from childhood that continues in my heart till this day.
Marguerite Morell
April 29, 2015
Al Zampieri.Marty was my second cousin. My Mom was a Napoli. Margeret Napoli.He was so alert and such apleasure to talk to.
April 29, 2015
Marty has the greatest resume, probably, in the history of musicians!!!!
God bless for all the good times and all the wonderful moments in music that you gave us!!
Ronnie Kaiser, friend of Enrico Borsetti!!!
April 29, 2015
Playing for Marty ,just three times in recent years,was filled with Joy,as he exuded the magic of the Muse....
Harvey Kaiser
April 29, 2015
Listening to Marty retell his life experiences was like going back in musical history. His first hand accounts were fascinating and insightful. He will be missed by more than just the music world. He was a master jazz pianist who lit up a room when he sat down at the keyboard.
David E Wise
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