Randy Napoleon

Puppets: The Music Of Gregg Hill

OA2, 2022

8/10

Listen to Puppets: The Music Of Gregg Hill

Randy Napoleon sure does put an inimitable spin on the work Gregg Hill, where he employs vocals, many different instruments, and a versatile approach to jazz across these 11 diverse tracks.

“Andy’s Lament” starts the listen with warm vocal scatting from Aubrey Johnson, as crisp drumming from Quincy Davis and Napoleon’s fluid guitar lines make an indelible impression, and “Fan-O-Gram” follows with a swift and swingin’ pace of playful bass from Brandon Rose and skilled drumming from Will Crandell.

Further down the line, “Moonscape” recruits a dreamy quality thanks to Seth Ebersole’s proficient bass clarinet and airy flute, while “Puppets” showcases Johnson’s sublime pipes amid the cozy textures from Rick Roe’s elegant piano and Napoleon’s soulful guitar.

“Truck Driver’s Blues” arrives near the end, and benefits from Gregg Hill’s lyricism as an intimate climate unfolds, and “Wide River” exits the listen with Napoleon’s lyrics helping make for a cautious and thoughtful duet that just might be the best selection present.

A lively affair that touches on the blues and soul and bops and waltzes playfully, Napoleon and company sure do justice to Hill’s work on this radiant body of work.

Travels well with: Ben Markley Big Band With Ari HoenigAri’s Funhouse; Rich Pellegrin- Passage