Napoleon Murphy Brock

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Napoleon Murphy Brock
Napoleon Murphy Brock at Knuckleheads.png
Napoleon Murphy Brock at
Knuckleheads Saloon in
Kansas City, Missouri
August 2, 2012
Background information
Birth name Napoleon Murphy Brock
Genres Experimental music, rock, R&B, jazz, pop
Occupations Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, saxophone, flute, clarinet, guitar, synthesizer bass, Fender Rhodes
Associated acts Frank Zappa, Zappa Plays Zappa, George Duke, Captain Beefheart, The Grandmothers of Invention[1]
Website Official Napoleon Murphy Brock website

Napoleon Murphy Brock (born June 7, 1945) is an American singer, saxophonist and flute player who is best known for his work with Frank Zappa in the 1970s, including the albums One Size Fits All, Roxy and Elsewhere, and Bongo Fury. His own most memorable vocal accomplishments are illustrated on the songs "Village of the Sun" and "Florentine Pogen."

Career[edit]

2006 Zappa Plays Zappa concert

Napoleon Murphy Brock started his ascent to music accolades and recognition in the San Francisco South Bay Area in the late 1960s with a seven and eight piece band he had organized named "Communication Plus". He was the star lead singer, song writer, and arranger of the band's strongly R&B-influenced Rock performances. He also played the saxophone and flute. He played in a variety of local clubs including The Brass Rail, The Mecca, and Gary R. Schmidt's, The Odyssey Room. He was discovered playing for a dance band in Hawaii in the early 1970s by Zappa's road manager. The participation of George Duke and Jean-Luc Ponty convinced Brock to join the band as lead singer.[2]

Napoleon's numerous performances with Zappa include the role of the "Evil Prince" on Zappa's Thing-Fish album. He has also performed with George Duke, Captain Beefheart and more recently with Neonfire and [1]. He remains a regular performer at Zappanale.

Brock appeared in the 2005 film Rock School, a documentary about The Paul Green School of Rock Music, an extracurricular music program that he and Project/Object have closely supported for several years.

In 2006, he toured with Frank Zappa's son Dweezil on the latter's Zappa Plays Zappa shows.[3] He also regularly tours with fellow Zappa alumnus Ike Willis and others with Andre Cholmondeley's Project/Object. Other Zappa related projects he's been involved with include the Tampa, Florida based band Bogus Pomp, and the 16 piece Ed Palermo Big Band from New York City.

He is most frequently seen fronting the Grande Mothers Re-Invented with Roy Estrada and Don Preston (the only Frank Zappa alumni from the Mothers of Invention regularly performing the music of Frank Zappa), performing over 91 times since 2002.

His own most recent release is the 2003 album Balls.

Brock is mentioned in the 2007 memoir, "My Lobotomy" by Howard Dully and Charles Fleming, which describes Dully's experiences before and after undergoing an icepick transorbital lobotomy in 1960, at 12 years of age. Brock, while studying psychology and music at San Jose State University, was employed in the mid-1960s as a counselor at Rancho Linda, a "residential center for special education" where Dully lived after the having the procedure and being released from juvenile hall and a mental asylum. Dully had fond memories of Brock, and described him having "played all kinds of instruments" and as "cool."

Grammy Award[edit]

At the 51st Grammy Awards on February 8, 2009, Napoleon won a Grammy for his performance of the song "Peaches en Regalia" with the band Zappa Plays Zappa, which also featured Steve Vai. The song originally appeared on Zappa's 1969 Hot Rats LP.

Film[edit]

Brock has appeared in several Zappa documentaries and movies. They include:

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

Year Album Credit
2002 Balls Flute, piano, keyboards, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals, whistle (human), producer, harmony vocals, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer bass, screams

Appearances on Zappa albums[edit]

Year Album Credit
1974 Apostrophe (') Saxophone, vocals
1974 Roxy & Elsewhere Tenor sax, flute, lead vocals, co-writer of Dummy Up
1975 One Size Fits All Flute and tenor sax, lead vocals on Florentine Pogen and Andy, background vocals on other tunes, flute on Inca Roads
1975 Bongo Fury Saxophone, vocals
1976 Zoot Allures Saxophone, vocals
1979 Sleep Dirt Saxophone
1979 Sheik Yerbouti Saxophone, vocals, background vocals
1984 Them or Us Guitar, saxophone, vocals, harmony vocals
1984 Thing-Fish Saxophone, vocals, cast
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 Saxophone, vocals
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2 Saxophone, vocals
1989 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 Saxophone, vocals
1991 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 Saxophone, vocals
1991 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 Saxophone, vocals
1996 Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1997 Have I Offended Someone?

Appearances on George Duke albums[edit]

Year Album Credit
1976 Liberated Fantasies Vocals
1978 Don't Let Go Vocals
1979 Follow the Rainbow Vocals
1979 Master of the Game Vocals

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Planetzappa interview
  2. ^ "Project/Object Lessons Zappa Veterans Keep Rock Iconoclast's Music Alive.". Albany Times Union (Albany, NY)  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). October 24, 2002. Retrieved 2 January 2013. "Zappa wanted Brock to be lead vocalist. Brock wasn't interested -- until he found out jazz musicians George Duke and Jean-Luc Ponty were also in the band" 
  3. ^ "Napoleon Murphy Brock recalls Zappa on 27-May-2007". Archive.org. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 

External links[edit]