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He played in a variety of genres including jazz and rock. He appeared on many jazz albums as sideman and rock albums as session musician, including The Beach Boys singles "Sloop John B", "Please Let Me Wonder, and "The Girl from New York City".
Nimitz was born in Washington D.C.. He first began playing on clarinet at age 12, and picked up alto saxophone at 14. He played in local bands in Washington D.C., and after specializing on baritone sax he found work in the territory bands of Willis Connover, Bob Astor, Johnny Bothwell, and Daryl Harpa. He played with Woody Herman (1953–55), Stan Kenton (1955–56, 1958–59), and Herbie Mann (1959); he also played in the house band for the Savoy Theater in the 1950s.
He then moved to Los Angeles and worked in film music in addition to playing with Bill Berry, Benny Carter, Onzy Matthews, Gerald Wilson, Supersax, Frank Strazzeri, Thelonious Monk, Terry Gibbs, Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Bellson, Chuck Mangione, Shelly Manne, Charles Mingus, Horace Silver, Gil Fuller, Gene Ammons Oliver Nelson, Kenny Burrell, Quincy Jones, Milt Jackson, Frank Capp and Joey DeFrancesco into the 1980s. Additionally he recorded with the vocalists Johnny Hartman, June Christy, Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, Anita O'Day and Diane Schuur. In the 1990s Nimitz recorded with Stewart Liebig, Bill Perkins, Bud Shank and Gerald Wilson.
In 1995 he released his first album under his own name. The Jack Nimitz Quintet played their final performance on May 10, 2009, in Northridge, California. Nimitz died aged 79 from complications from emphysema in Studio City, Los Angeles, California.
- Confirmation (Fresh Sound, 1995)
- Live at Capozzoli's (Woofy Productions, 1997)
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With Gene Ammons
- Free Again (Prestige, 1971)
With Kenny Burrell
- Both Feet on the Ground (Fantasy, 1973)
With Clare Fischer
- Extension (Pacific Jazz, 1963)
With Gil Fuller
- Gil Fuller & the Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra featuring Dizzy Gillespie (Pacific Jazz, 1965)
With Woody Herman
- Songs For Hip Lovers (Verve, 1957)
With Stan Kenton
- Standards in Silhoutte (Verve, 1957)
With Steuart Liebig
- No Train (Cadence, 1997)
- Antipodes (Cadence, 2000)
With Herbie Mann
- Sultry Serenade (Riverside, 1957)
With Oliver Nelson
- Live from Los Angeles (Impulse!, 1967)
With Bill Perkins
- Our Man Woody (Jazz Mark, 1991)
With Bud Shank
- New Gold! (Candid, 1993)
With Lalo Schifrin
- Music from Mission: Impossible (Dot, 1967)
- Mannix (Paramount, 1968)
- Bullitt (soundtrack) (Warner Bros., 1968)
With Gerald Wilson
- State Street Sweet (MAMA, 1995)
- Theme For Monterey (MAMA, 1997)
- Jack Nimitz Baritone Sax Player Dies All About Jazz - Retrieved on 16 June 2009.