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Sal Nistico

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  • Born: Syracuse, NY
  • Died: Bern, Switzerland
  • Years Active: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Sal Nistico's explosive tenor solos with Woody Herman in the mid-'60s helped make that edition of Herman's Herd into a success. Originally an altoist, Nistico switched to tenor in 1956 and played with R&B bands for three years. He gigged with and made his recording debut in 1959-1960 with the Jazz Brothers, a band also including Chuck and Gap Mangione. But it was while with Herman in 1962-1965 that Nistico made history. In 1965, he spent five months with Count Basie. He returned to Basie in 1967 and to Herman on several occasions (1968-1970, 1971, 1981-1982), although without the impact of the first stint. Otherwise, the tenor freelanced throughout his career, playing with Don Ellis and Buddy Rich but mostly working with pick-up groups. Nistico recorded for several labels as a leader including Riverside, Red, and Beehive.