An Even BIGGER Celebration of Sammy Nestico on his 95th!

By Popular Demand - WZUM will have an encore broadcast of this MOSTLY SAMMY hour, Tuesday, February 12 at noon during the Pittsburgh Jazz Lunch!

Wednesday, February 6th marked the 95th birthday of the remarkable composer, arranger and bandleader Sammy Nestico. This past week on WZUM, we celebrated with music and conversation.

And now, a movie!

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Diane Estelle Vicari is completing a feature-length film Shadow Man. It tells the story of Sammy Nestico through pictures and sounds, Sammy's own words, and the words of others. When we told Diane about our salutes to Sammy this week, she graciously offered up stories from the film for us to share with Pittsburgh listeners - which we’ve added to our rebroadcast of The Scene for Sunday night at 5pm.

You can read more about the film project at the website. There’s also a Kickstarter page for the project with more details.


Not only have bands fronted by Basie and Quincy Jones relied on Sammy Nestico tunes and arrangements - but so have artists like Sinatra, Phil Collins, Bing Crosby Sarah Vaughan, Toni Tennille, Barbra Streisand and many more.

This week on “The Scene” on WZUM, we highlight some music of Sammy Nestico, including his first full LP with Count Basie in 1968, “Basie Straight Ahead,” the beautiful Send in the Clowns with Sarah Vaughan, the Phill Collins Big Band project, featuring Gerald Albright, plus the latest CD of music with the US Army Jazz Ambassadors, “the Sammy Sessions”

Sammy Nestico and Jim Anderson

Sammy Nestico and Jim Anderson

Hear Sammy Nestico tell how Pittsburgh’s Grover Mitchell was instrumental in starting Sammy’s long tenure with the Count Basie Orchestra, tales of the Stanley Theater, how Sammy came to start in music at Oliver High School, and his start at WCAE radio when he was just 17.

We also talk with Grammy-winning engineer and producer Jim Anderson about working with Sammy Nestico (Jim’s from Pittsburgh, too!).

Hear it on WZUM - Thursday night at 6, Sunday night at 5.

Sammy Nestico

Sammy Nestico

Sammy worked on scores for scores of popular TV shows from Charlies Angels to Mannix and Mission Impossible. Early on in his career, he played trombone with bands led by Gene Krupa, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey and Charlie Barnet.
Sammy Nestico is a Pittsburgh native, and earned his Bachelor’s in music education from Duquesne University in 1950. Appropriately, his charts have been played by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jazz and concerts band students over the decades.

Sarah Vaughan Basie Send in the Clowns.jpg

Also, music from Charenee Wade, who brings music of Gil Scott-Heron to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater March 2.

And a reminder about the Pittsburgh Jazz Days of Winter, later this month!

The Scene - Thursdays at 6pm, Sundays at 5pm on WZUM.