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SAMMY NESTICO: THE MUSIC, THE MAN, THE AMERICAN DREAM
New documentary film on 94 year old Sammy Nestico entitled “Shadow Man” profiles the jazz and big band giant. Led The Count Basie Orchestra, the White House Orchestra, Airmen of Note, worked with countless icons from the shadows.
Film 16 years in the making; campaign to finish now live on Kickstarter
LOS ANGELES, CA (March 18, 2018) – SHADOW MAN – The Sammy Nestico Story is a feature-length documentary film that explores the music, art, humanity, impact, and life of Sammy Nestico. It's a story the filmmaker – diane estelle Vicari – wants to tell and a legacy she wants to preserve.
“Over the past century, Sammy Nestico has been a giant contributor to the world of music,” says Vicari, “a true maestro – as a composer, orchestrator, writer, and arranger across the genres of classical, jazz, and big band sounds. He is also a quiet giant, helping to mold careers of musicians, some considered icons. He often worked behind the scenes … like a shadow. That’s the basis for the title of the film.”
Vicari adds that Sammy’s greatest musical love has been working with youngsters and students pursuing their dream. He loves being an educator and mentor. She says his impact in this area is virtually unmatched.
Sammy Nestico recently turned 94 years young. His most recent Grammy nomination came only a year ago, at the age of 93. For over 70 years, he has plied his craft selflessly, and always with a smile.
During a 70+ year career, Sammy was the music arranger for the U.S. Air Force Band, the U.S. Marine Band, and leader of the White House Orchestra. He arranged music and led the Count Basie Orchestra for 17 years – picking up where his good friend Quincy Jones left off. Four of the 10 albums he arranged for Basie went on to win Grammy’s. He has served as a professor at the University of Georgia, and directed music programs at numerous universities. He arranged and conducted projects for Sarah Vaughan, Phil Collins, Toni Tennille, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bublé, and many others. He worked on countless films, and over 70 television programs including Mission: Impossible, Mannix, and Charlie's Angels. He wrote commercial jingles for Zenith, Ford, Mattel, and Anheuser Busch, to name a few. He is the author of The Complete Arranger, an influential text in the field of music education. To this day, there remain over 600 numbers published by Sammy Nestico still regularly used by schools in their classrooms. And Sammy still loves to pick up a trombone, reminiscent of his days as a master trombonist for Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet, and Tommy Dorsey.
The late, great jazz journalist and educator Dr. Herb Wong said: "Sammy Nestico is a wizard. He is a masterful teacher who combines technique, strategy, enthusiasm, humor, humility, and humanity to reach music students in a way that few others ever have."
“The film is also a profile in Americana, and the post-Depression American Dream,” says Vicari. “Sammy grew up in the heartland, was the man of the house at 10, was a self-taught musician, became a master arranger in the Big Band Era, and always put music and musical sounds above ego and image. It’s an honor and a privilege for me to tell his story and I am proud to have become a good friend with Sammy and his wife Shirley.”
Vicari and her husband, multi-Grammy winning producer Tommy Vicari, have financed the film from limited funds over a 16 year period. Sammy is now 94. In an effort to finish the film hopefully so Sammy can see it, she launched a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter http://kck.st/2EWQVC2. “Sammy is active in the process,” says Vicari. “He watches the crowd funding campaign and responds to comments from fans on Facebook, and he loves it. It is wonderful to see.” She adds that Sammy has also helped by signing limited edition collectibles to augment the “rewards” on the Kickstarter page.
The campaign is mostly funded, and ends on March 29.
Filmmaker Vicari lives in Los Angeles, Sammy in Northern San Diego County. Sammy is available for phone interviews. The Kickstarter is at http://kck.st/2EWQVC2.