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PHIL NAPOLEON!<br>Signed 10" LP released by<br>Legendary NYC Jazz Club "Nick's" own Jazz Label in 1953

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A Night at Nick's by Phil Napolean and his Memphis Five. Nicks-Picks NP-1152, 1953, mono microgroove. Vinyl: fair (-), cover G

Any traditional jazz fan is well aware of Nick's legendary jazz club in Greenwich Village, NY - but did you know that Nick's had its own record label? These records are excedingly difficult to find and, in fact, are not listed in Goldmine's Guide to collectible jazz albums. Here is a great find - not only one of the rare "Nicks-Picks" 10" LPs, but a signed one.

Phil Napolean has signed on the front in turquoise ink, "To Joel / Our Best / Regards / Phil Napoleon"

The overall condtion is not very good (the vinyl looks barely playable and the jacket has some splitting on the bottom and back seams - but there are no marks execpet for the autograph).

A brief bio of Phil Napoleon by Scott Yanow of the All Music Guide appears below with Scott's kind permission.

Although it is often overlooked, Phil Napoleon was one of the top trumpeters to be active in New York during 1921-1925. At a time when most so-called hot players in the Big Apple were still playing staccato and halting lines (not being up to the level of their Chicago counterparts), Napoleon's warm sound and legato phrasing swung (before the word had been coined). Classically trained, Napoleon decided to play popular music. By 1921, he was recording frequently with many overlapping groups (most notably the Original Memphis Five, Ladd's Black Aces, the Carolina Cotton Pickers, and, later on, the Charleston Chasers), appearing on literally hundreds of excellent melodic jazz records where his appealing tone and solid lead were a major asset. Although a slight influence on Red Nichols and Bix Beiderbecke (as much for his professionalism and consistency as for his tone), Napoleon never did become a big name. He worked in the studios during the 1930s and '40s, leading his own big band briefly in 1938 and spending part of 1943 with Jimmy Dorsey. In 1949, he emerged with a new version of the Original Memphis Five, playing Dixieland for seven years at Nick's. Napoleon eventually moved to Miami, opened a club called Napoleon's Retreat, and played regularly during his declining years. -- Scott Yanow

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