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Sal Nistico

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Sal Nistico
Birth nameSalvatore Nistico
BornApril 2, 1940
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 3, 1991 (aged 50)
Bern, Switzerland
InstrumentsTenor saxophone

Salvatore Nistico (April 2, 1940 – March 3, 1991)[1] was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.


Associated for many years with Woody Herman's Herd,[1] Nistico played in the group from 1962 to 1965, considered one of Herman's best bands,[2] with Bill Chase, Jake Hanna, Nat Pierce, and Phil Wilson.

He started playing alto saxophone, switching to tenor in 1956, on a Buescher before switching to a Conn 10M tenor saxophone,[3] and briefly played baritone saxophone. From 1959 to 1961, he played with the Jazz Brothers band (Chuck Mangione and Gap Mangione).[4]

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 with other musicians associated with the Herd, such as Carl Fontana, Nat Pierce, and Michael Moore. He also played with Nat Adderley, Don Ellis, Buddy Rich, and Stan Tracey. Living in Europe in his latter years he worked with mostly European musicians as Joe Haider, Isla Eckinger, Billy Brooks, Fritz Pauer and recorded with the Larry Porter/ Allan Praskin Band and Three Generations Of Tenor saxophone with Johnny Griffin, Roman Schwaller, Paul Grabowsky, Roberto DiGioia, Thomas Stabenow, Joris Dudli and Mario Gonzi. The first live performance from January 1985 was released under the band's name on JHM Records Switzerland.

Nistico's solo work contrasts his big band work. His solo work is more oriented towards bebop, as heard on the Heavyweights recording on Riverside Records.


As leader or co-leader[edit]

As sideman or guest[edit]

With Chet Baker

  • 1992: Live at Renaissance II (CD Baby)
  • 1994: Nightbird (CLA)
  • 1997: In a Soulful Mood (Music Club)
  • 2001: Round Midnight (Fruit Tree)

With Count Basie

  • 2005: NEA Jazz Masters–Count Basie (Verve)

With Sammy Davis, Jr. & Count Basie

  • 1965: Our Shining Hour (Verve)

With Curtis Fuller

With Woody Herman

With The Jazz Brothers (Chuck & Gap)

  • 1960: The Jazz Brothers (Riverside)
  • 1961: Hey Baby! (Riverside)
  • 1961: Spring Fever (Riverside)

With Helen Merrill

With Pony Poindexter

With Larry Porter-Allan Praskin Quartet

  • 1994: Sonnet for Sal (Enja)

With Buddy Rich

With Sarah Vaughan


  1. ^ a b "Sal Nistico | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  2. ^ Wilson, John S. (February 8, 1987). "CRITICS' CHOICES; Jazz". The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  3. ^ Jazz Professional article Archived 2007-10-29 at the Wayback Machine featuring interview between Nistico and Tubby Hayes
  4. ^ Davis, John S. (2012). Historical Dictionary of Jazz. Scarecrow Press. p. 264. ISBN 978-0810867574.
  5. ^ "Sal Nistico : Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved February 13, 2018.