On Monday March 24th Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola was the again the scene of a memorable big band concert from the Manhattan School of Music Concert Jazz Band under the direction of Justin DiCioccio. On the occasion of Sammy Nestico's 90th birthday, the director (who was a cohort of Nestico's in White House dance bands of the 60's and 70's) focused on the legendary charts that the famed composer/arranger wrote for the Count Basie Band from 1966-84. Beginning with such excursions into seminal swing scripts as 88 Basie Street" and Have a Nice Day" the band launched an ...read more
Big band jazz has evolved into its own avant-garde art form, where the arrangements have become progressively more complex and cerebral. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it does make for a different type of big band listening experience. Modern big band jazz, in some quarters, has veered off into a non-swinging, Stan Kenton direction and, while it remains interesting, it is not as enjoyable as a sweet Count Basie blues romp. Speaking of Basie, the fabled bandleader retained many of the more celebrated arrangers and composers for his big band. Neal Hefti, Billy ...read more
Some people are born to rule, others to serve. Sammy Nestico, it seems, was born to swing. From his early years as chief arranger for the US Air Force Airmen of Note and later for the irrepressible Count Basie Orchestra, Nestico prized swinging above all else, and that's no less true on Basie-cally Sammy, his warmhearted homage to the Count with Germany's superlative SWR Big Band, which marks their second collaboration in as many years. The album swings buoyantly from start to finish, thanks to Nestico's intrepid charts and the SWR's casual mastery of them.
There are a number of ...read more
Sammy Nestico Portrait of Sammy Fenwood Music 2005
The Portrait of Sammy shown on the cover of renowned composer/arranger Sammy Nestico's newest album shows a man grinning from ear to ear, clearly enjoying what he does and relishing the fruits of his enduring success. And why not? Sammy has been at the top of his game for nearly half a century, and he shows no signs of slowing down at age 81. Ten of the fifteen selections on Portrait were recorded last year with an orchestra comprised of world-class jazz musicians from ...read more
Those who’ve been wondering, if indeed there are any, will be pleased to learn that Sammy Nestico hasn’t lost his touch. Now in his seventy–eighth year, Count Basie’s former Grammy–winning chief arranger can still write persuasive charts that swing at the drop of a high–hat, which he does more often than not on This Is the Moment, Sammy’s first album under his own name since Sea Breeze reissued 1985’s Night Flight (with four tracks from his earlier Black Orchid ) several years ago. Any new enterprise with Sammy’s signature on it is warmly welcomed within these precincts, and when he ...read more
Let's get the answer to the obvious question out of the way right at the outset. Frank Stallone is the brother of Sylvester Stallone. But this relationship has nothing to do with Stallone's vocal prowess. The man can sing a song. Settling on a play list of classic standards masterly orchestrated by Sammy Nestico, Stallone recalls those great crooners of the past - Sinatra, Haymes and Darin to name a few - - who had their way with tunes by Porter, Berlin, Rodgers and Hart and so on. Stallone even uses some of the Sinatra and Darin mannerisms, like the ...read more