Sal Nistico definitely was deserving of wider recognition. In the realm of hard-swinging post-bop tenor saxophone, Nistico (1938-1991) had few equals. Best known for his dynamic work as a star soloist at various junctures (from the early 1960s to the early 1980s) with Woody Herman's and Count Basie's orchestras, Nistico made his debut as a leader in December 1961 with Heavyweights. The quintet date found him at the helm of a New York all-star unit, with all but drummer Walter Perkins also employed at the time by Cannonball Adderley's popular group. Ten months later, in October 1962, Nistico fronted another quintet, this one featuring little known but talented trumpeter Sal Amico, a fellow upstate New Yorker. (Barry Harris was at the piano.) The happy result was Comin' On Up. Both sessions, long overdue for reissue, spotlight an amalgam of the crisp and fiery neo-bop with a tinge of soul-jazz that defined the East Coast sound during the early JFK era.
with Nat Adderley, Sal Amico, Bob Cranshaw, Barry Harris, Sam Jones, Walter Perkins, Vinnie Ruggiero