COMPOSERS: Sammy Nestico
PERFORMER: Sammy Nestico and The SWR Big Band
CATALOGUE NO: 93.118
A youthful 80, Sammy Nestico is arguably the dean of living American big-band arrangers, best known for his fruitful collaborations with Count Basie between 1968 and 1984. Of his 13 arrangements the SWR Big Band includes on No Time Like the Present, ten are original compositions.
Nestico’s joyous, mainstream idiom leaves plenty of room for solos and fills (pianist Klaus Wagenleiter’s pithy contributions recall Basie’s signature keyboard plinking), while ingenuously integrating softer flute, bassoon, and vibraphone sonorities into the brass and saxophone oriented fabric.
Under Nestico’s inspiring leadership, the SWR musicians negotiate intricate up-tempo ensemble passages with minimum effort and maximum swing (Gershwin’s ‘Strike Up the Band’, for instance), and bring out all the colour and refinement possible within ballads like ‘Satin ’n’ Glass’.