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JLP 66
Heavyweights: SAL NISTICA Quintet

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Nat Adderley (cnt except on Side 1, #3) Sal Nistico (ts) Barry Harris (p) Sam Jones (b) Walter Perkins (drs)      

New York; December 20, 1961


 1. Mamblue (5:41) (Barry Harris)

 2. Seconds, Anyone? (3:54) (Sal Nistico)

 3.Shoutin’ (5:16) (Tommy Turrentine)hnston)

 4. Shoutin’ (5:16) (Tommy Turrentine)


 1. Just Friends (6:35) (Lewis – Kleener)

 2. Heavyweights (5:40) (Frank Pallara))

 3. Heavyweights (5:40) (Frank Pallara)

   Sometimes the novice jazzman (relatively speaking) is put in with established pros in order to provide a stability that youngsters of his own experience cannot impart. Such is not the case on this album, on which a youthful tenor saxophonist makes his debut as a leader. Although Sal Nistico is surrounded by some very estimable people, it is purely by personal choice and not intended to shore up a wavering confidence or a failing nerve. As you can readily hear within these covers, Nistico is a young man of poise, drive and general musical acumen far ahead of his years, which numbered only twenty-two when this set was recorded. A perfect illustration is his sensitive, impassioned performance on My Old Flame. Any young musician who can play this convincingly on a ballad is worth his weight in Selmers.

   Unlike many musicians his age, Nistico has an awareness of what preceded him in jazz as well as what is happening now. Those who are familiar with his from the Riverside albums by the ”Jazz Brothers” (the Mangione brothers), will not be surprised by Sal’s work here. But they will surely be pleased, for he has responded to his featured role with the ease of a veteran.

   Sal is originally from Syracuse, an upstate New York City never famous for producing jazz musicians, but which may be yet. For if this young man continues to improve with time, in relation to his present considerable talent, he will be an important player. He may not be a trail-blazer, but he has that basic excitement in his playing, that stamp of sincerity and total involvement with his music that makes you listen.

   Nat Adderley needs no introduction to Jazzland and Riverside listeners – or any other listeners, for that matter. Nistico’s introduction to the scene came when Nat and brother Cannon ran across the Jazz Brothers and helped bring them to the attention of the general jazz public.   A mutual admiration society was formed and when this date became imminent, Sal contacted Nat and Barry Harris, another member of the Adderley group at the time of the first meeting. Adding Sam Jones, a third Adderleyite, and Walter Perkins, the fine drummer from Chicago who formerly co-led the MJT and has since worked with Sonny Rollins, Nistico completed his personally endorsed roster.

   Mamblue, the Barry Harris original which begins the set, is a blues with those Oriental-sounding minor chords and a Latin beat. Adderley is smoking from the opening note of his solo and keeps getting hotter. Nistico is no less passionate. Sal’s general frame of reference is usually Sonny Rollins (mid-1950s vintage) but here he tips his cap to Gene Ammons in a couple of places. Harris’ two-handed solo puts the emphasis on the rhythmic.

   Nistico’s one written contribution is the bright-tempoed Seconds, Anyone? On My Old Flame, the only slow tempo of the date, there is – in addition to Nistico’s thoughtful, heartfelt balladry – a lovely statement by Harris. Trumpeter Tommy Turrentine contributed Shoutin’, a tuneful swinger with assured solos by the horns and Harris, and a chance for Perkins to work out on some “fours”.

   There are two tunes associated with Charlie Parker, whom Sal reveres: Su Privave, which Bird wrote; and Just Friends, which he made very much his own through performance. The latter has those pretty changes which soloists enjoy responding in kind. Perkins’ dancing cymbal behind Harris is a delight and Jones has a melodic, picked solo. Au Privave is played at exactly the right tempo to bring out the perfect Parker spirit, and the soloists carry this feeling to completion.

   The closer was penned by Frank Pullara, bassist with Jazz Brothers. It has a relaxed, floating quality that lets you down gently after the heated Au Privave, but swings in its own way. (It has been made the title number by way of emphasizing that Sal belongs in the company of the other really heavy talents represented here.)

   Of late, Nistico has left the Jazz Brothers ad is touring with Woody Herman. Woody has had some exceptional tenor men pass in and out of his myriad bands down through the years: Flip Phillips, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Gene Ammons, and Blue Mitchell, to name a few. Sal won’t do anything to hurt this illustrious tradition. And don’t bet that he’ll be there too long. Like the others, Sal Nistico will probably soon be out making it on his own, for in the talent department, as we have been saying, he must be ranked as a true heavyweight.


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This recording is available in both stereophonic (JLP966) and monaural (JLP6) form.

NAT ADDERLEY can also be heard on his own Jazzland album – Naturally! (JLP 47; Stereo 947)


Recording Engineer: RAY FOWLER

Recorded and mastered at Plaza Sound Studios

Album design: KEN DEARDOFF

Back-liner photos by STEVE SCHAPIRO


235 West 46th Street New York City 36, New York

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