Salvatore Nistico (2 April 1941, in Syracuse, New York state – 3 March 1991, in Berne, Switzerland) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.

Associated for many years with Woody Herman's Herd,[1] Nistico played in the 1962–65 group, 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.

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-leaderEdit

As sideman or guestEdit

With Chet Baker

  • 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 Vaughn


  1. ^ Scott Yanow at allmusic
  2. ^ "Critics' Choices" New York Times
  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". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 February 2018.