Sal Nistico

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Salvatore Nistico (2 April 1938 in Syracuse (New York), died 3 March 1991 in Berne, Switzerland) was a jazz tenor saxophonist.

Associated for many years with Woody Herman's Herd,[1] Nistico played in the 1962-65 group, considered one of the Herman's best lineups,[2] alongside Phil Wilson, Bill Chase, Nat Pierce and Jake Hanna.

He started playing alto sax, switching to tenor in 1956, starting out on a Buescher before switching to a Conn 10M tenor saxophone,[3] and briefly played baritone sax.

In 1965, he joined Count Basie but returned on many occasions to play with Herman. Around that time he was also a member of Dusko Goykovich's sextet, together with other musicians associated with the Herd such as Carl Fontana, Nat Pierce, and Michael Moore. He also played with Nat Adderley, Don Ellis, Stan Tracey, Chuck Mangione and Buddy Rich.

Sal's solo work contrasts his big band work. The solo work is more bebop oriented, as heard on the Heavyweights recording.


  • 1960: The Mangione Brothers Sextet: The Jazz Brothers- Chuck Mangione (trumpet); Gap Mangione (piano); and others. (Riverside Records)
  • 1961: Hey Baby! - The Jazz Brothers (Riverside Records)
  • 1961: Spring Fever - The Jazz Brothers (Riverside Records)
  • 1961: Heavyweights -Nat Adderley (cornet); Barry Harris (piano); Sam Jones (bass); Walter Perkins (drums).
  • 1962: Comin' On Up - Sal Amico (trumpet); Barry Harris (piano); Bob Cranshaw (bass); Vinnie Ruggiero (drums).
  • 1963: "Woody Herman-1963" (Philips Records)
  • 1963: "Encore '63" - The Woody Herman Orchestra (Philips Records)
  • 1964: "Woody Herman: 1964" (Philips Records)
  • (Released 1993): Woody Herman Presents: The Four Others Al Cohn (tenor sax); Bill Perkins (tenor sax); Flip Phillips (alto sax)
  • 1969: Woody Herman – Light My Fire Tenor sax solos on 'Hush' and 'Keep on Keepin on' (Cadet Records)
  • 1974: "Very Live At Buddy's Place" Sonny Fortune: (alto sax, flute); Kenny Barron (piano); Mike Abene (piano on track z); Jack Wilkins (guitar); Anthony Jackson (electric bass); Buddy Rich (drums); Jimmy Maeulen (conga)
  • 1974: "Transition" Buddy Rich & Lionel Hampton (Groove Merchant Records). (on "E.G." and "Fum")
  • 1978: East of Isar - The Sal Nistico-Benny Bailey Quintet
  • 1978: Neo Nistico - Ted Curson (Trumpet) - Nick Brignola (Baritone Sax) - Ronnie Mathews (Piano) - Sam Jones (Bass) - Roy Haynes (Drumset). Bee Hive Records SH7006.*
  • 1984: "Live at Buffalo" - Chet Baker (trumpet, vocals), Sal Nistico (Tenor Sax), Lorne Lofsky (guitar), Art Frank (drums), Chriss Connors (bass)
  • 1988: Empty Room- Rita Marcotulli (piano) Marco Fratini (bass) Roberto Gatto (drums)