Kenneth Napper was born July 14, 1933 in London, England. He started out on learning to play the piano as a child, then picked up the bass as a student at Guildhall School of Music. Entering the British military in the early 1950s, he played and recorded with Mary Lou Williams in 1953 while on leave. After completing his term of duty, he went on to play with Jack Parnell, Malcolm Mitchell, Vic Ash, and Cab Calloway.
During the late Fifties and early 1960s Kenny was the house bassist at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club for several years and played with many British and American jazz musicians. These musicians include Alan Clare, Ronnie Scott, Stan Tracey, Tubby Hayes, Tony Kinsey, Tony Crombie, Jimmy Deuchar, John Dankworth, Pat Smythe, Phil Seamen, Zoot Sims, Carmen McRae, and Paul Gonsalves.
By the late Sixties he worked with Ted Heath, Tony Coe, John Picard and Barney Kessel, as well as with Gonsalves, Tracey, and Dankworth. In 1970 he played with Stephane Grappelli prior to a move to Germany where he played with Kurt Edelhagen from 1970 to 1972. While residing there, Napper focused more on composition and arrangement and then in the late Seventies he moved to the Netherlands.
Through the remainder of the decade and and the Eighties he put down his bass, arranged for radio ensembles, was the staff arranger and conductor for the 50 piece Metropole Orchestra, and then directed his attention to teaching at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. At 83 years of age, double-bassist arranger, composer, conductor and educator Kenny Napper, it is assumed he has retired and returned to the United Kingdom.
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