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Various Artists: Big Band Favorites of Sammy Nestico

Jack Bowers By

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Here are 11 charts by the incomparable Sammy Nestico, apparently recycled by Summit Jazz from at least three uncredited sources. If you have the Al Sanada All–Star Big Band’s recent release, Playing Sammy Nestico (from which the liner notes for this disc were transcribed almost word–for–word) or Nestico’s album Dark Orchid, which dates from 1981, you’re no doubt familiar with most of these selections, as five were taken from the Sanada recording and four from Dark Orchid. The other two, “This Is Love” and “Shoreline Drive,” which appear in neither place, are performed by smaller groups. “This Is Love” (with a vocal by Myrna Matthews and Sally Stevens) embodies only four trumpets, trombonist Bill Watrous and rhythm (including Victor Feldman’s synthesizer), while the funky, overly commercial “Shoreline Drive” adds four trombones, three French horns and, if the personnel listings are accurate, tenor Pete Christlieb as a one–man saxophone section (and soloist). Christlieb, a mainstay in the Sanada ensemble, has an uncredited solo on “Fascinating Rhythm” and is heard again on “Who’s Sorry Now?” Other stellar soloists on the Sanada tracks include trumpeter Ron Stout (“It’s a Wonderful World”), trombonist Andy Martin (“Who’s Sorry Now?”), flutist Sal Lozano (“Small Talk”) and pianist Pete Jolly (on four tracks). Stout, Martin (muted) and bassist Chuck Berghofer deliver breezy but unbilled solos on “Small Talk.” Nestico had some heavyweights in his band too, with Watrous, Jolly, saxophonists Bob Hardaway, Tommy Newsom, Bud Shank (featured on “Samantha”) and trumpeter Conte Candoli each soloing one or more times on the four selections from Black Orchid. As noted, if you have either or both of the albums by Sanada or Nestico, this one won’t be of much interest. If you don’t, this is nearly an hour of fabulous music by one of the leading big–band composer/arrangers of recent years, played with superior competence and élan by some of the country’s ablest musicians, and that should be enough to warrant anyone’s serious consideration.

Track listing: Fascinating Rhythm; It’s a Wonderful World; Who’s Sorry Now?; This Is Love; The Blues Machine; Samantha; Pressure Cooker; Shoreline Drive; A Warm Breeze; Small Talk; 88 Basie Street (57:20).

Collective personnel: John Audino, Wayne Bergeron, Bobby Bryant, Daryl “Flea” Campbell, Conte Candoli, Darrell Gardner, Gary Grant, Gary Holopoff, Jack Laubach, Warren Luening, Kevin Richardson, Don Smith, Ron Stout, Snooky Young, trumpet/flugelhorn; Alex Iles, Tommy Johnson, Tom King, Andy Martin, Grover Mitchell, Charlie Morillas, Bruce Otto, Tommy Shepard, Charlie Small, Bob Smith, Don Waldrop, Bill Watrous, Chauncey Welsch, trombone; Bill Baker, Pete Christlieb, Bob Cooper, Ernie Delfante, Bob Hardaway, Sal Lozano, Tom McClure, Jay Migliore, Tommy Newsom, Jack Nimitz, Kim Richmond, Bud Shank, Alden Waldow, reeds; Vince DeRosa, Art Maebe, Gale Robinson, French horn; Victor Feldman, Pete Jolly, Ian Underwood, keyboards; Bob Bain, Tim May, guitar; Chuck Berghofer, Reinie Press, bass; Louie Bellson, Gregg Field, Harvey Mason, drums; Myrna Mathews, Sally Stevens, vocals.

Contact: Summit Records, Box 26850, Tempe, AZ 85285 (www.summitrecords.com).


Title: Big Band Favorites of Sammy Nestico | Year Released: 1999


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