The Jazz Music Box (5:11)
TOTAL PLAYING TIME [64:52]
Sammy Nestico was born in 1924 in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. He taught himself to play the trombone, and worked
as a staff arranger for local radio station WCAE while in high
school. Sammy performed with an Army band during the war, and
later played with Charlie Barnet, Woody Herman, Gene Krupa and
Tommy Dorsey. Sammy is best known today as a top jazz composer
and arranger for big band music. He has arranged for the Count
Basie Orchestra, the U.S. Air Force Band, the U.S. Marine Band,
and has written many arrangements for the television and film
industries, as well as writing jazz arrangements for college and
high school bands and orchestras for over 50 years. This disc
features Sammy’s works performed by the SWR Big Band, an 18-piece
band based in Stuttgart. Sammy and the band first recorded together
in 2004, and this disc is their fifth collaboration. Six songs
on this disc are Sammy originals, the rest are a mix of jazz arrangements
of bygone tunes that have been given a fresh look. Moonlight
On The Ganges was written by British composer Montague Ewing
under the pen name of Sherman Myers, with lyrics by Henry Tilsley
and published in 1926. The tune swings with a lovely brass section
melody and a fine solo by tenor saxophonist Andreas Maile, adding
an interesting snake charmers call to good effect. Close Enough
For Love was written by Johnny Mandel, with lyrics by Paul
Williams and was the theme song for the 1979 film Agatha.
The song is popular among vocalists and has become a jazz standard.
Alto saxophonist Klaus Graf plays a slow, sweet solo with pianist
Klaus Wagenleiter and the band providing insightful accompaniment.
Poor Butterfly is one of the older songs in this collection.
Written by Raymond Hubbell, with lyrics by John Golden, it was
inspired by Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, and was
introduced in the 1916 Broadway musical The Big Show.
Sammy’s arrangement swings the tune with an easy strutting rhythm
and four solos, including trumpeter Claus Reichstaller and trombonist
Marc Godfroid. I’ll Follow My Secret Heart was written
by Noel Coward for his 1934 musical Conversation Piece.
Sammy previously arranged the tune for the United State Air Force
band Airmen of Note The beautifully melodic waltz is thoughtfully
arranged with several more fine solos, including tenor saxophonist
Axel Kuhn, with the full band dynamically filling in and fading
out throughout the piece, giving the song a life of its own. One
of Sammy’s own compositions is the lovely Softly from My Window,
a light, breezy tune with a soft Latin rhythm led by percussionist
Guido Joris, featuring jazz flugelhornist Karl Farrent and a brief
solo by guitarist Klaus-Peter Schopfer. A favorite song in this
set is Sammy’s tune Cell Talk, a bopping, swinging number
with the band passing the melody back and forth accompanied and
highlighted by an assortment of percussive bells.
This music was recorded at U-Musikstudio in Stuttgart in December
2015 and April 2016. Mastering was performed by Tom Kruger, and
Hans-Peter Zachary was the producer. The sound quality is excellent.
A 12-page booklet is included, with notes in German and English.