Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Sisto, Dick

Sisto, Dick, vibraphone.

Dick began studying the vibes in Grammar school with marimba master Jose Bethancourt of the Chicago Symphony. He attended Notre Dame H.S., which also produced pianists Jim McNeely, Al Pheeney and trombonist James Pankow. While there he was awarded "best soloist" at the state competition. He attended North Texas State Univ. for one year and took a quartet to the Collegiate Jazz Festival where he was judged, "an excellent player" by Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. The following year he attended Northwestern Univ. playing in the lab band with David Sanborn. Soon after that he left school to form a quartet with drummer Maurice White, who later founded Earth, Wind and Fire. The Chicago jazz scene in those days included several jazz clubs that Dick frequented to hear the music of Trane, Miles, Bill Evans, Stitt, Peterson, Garner, Ellington, Basie, etc.

Moving to northern Ca. by 1970 he collaborated with Jerry Hahn, Bill Mathieu, George Marsh, Rich Fudoli and others on a record entitled Ghost Opera. He recorded a vibes solo background for a meditation and yoga record by Swami Kriyananda. With a grant from the California Arts Council he produced a jazz and poetry project with Gary Snyder and later with Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Sisto took a gig in Louisville Ky. with David Leonhart and John Goldsby at a jazz club called Stanley J's, where they backed many name musicians. At the same time he developed a relationship with the writer and mystic Thomas Merton, who was also a jazz lover. In recent years Sisto has performed at jazz clubs throughout the midwest including the Green Mill, Andy's and Pops in Chicago, The Blue Wisp in Cincinnatti, as well as festivals in Indianapolis, Nashville, Elkhart, Ind. and Louisville. He has toured Great Britain five times where he received rave reviews, working prominent venues. Festival gigs have included performances with David "Fathead" Newman, Milt Hinton, Ira Sullivan, Willie Pickens, Fred Hersch, Barry Ries, Harry Pickens and others. Currently, he is the music director at the famous Seelbach Bar at the Seel bach Hilton Hotel where his trio has backed great jazz artists such as Pat Labarbera, David Liebman, Joe Morello, Joe Labarbera, Kevin Mahagony, Bobby Shew, Kenny Werner, Dave Samuels, Rich Perry, Andy Laverne, Don Braden, David Hazeltine, Walt Weiskoff, Scott Wendholt, Lynne Arrialle, Steve Davis and many others. Sisto has been the vibes teacher at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Clinics for the past ten years and has taught at numerous university and private clinics. He is an Innovative Percussion Mallet Artist and has had a transcription of a solo published in Percussive Notes.His wife Penny is an internationally known fabric artist (see www.pennysisto.com) and son Jeremy the actor who played the lead in miniseries Jesus, and Julius Caesar and many films.

End of Time

Radio broadcasts:
He hosts two public radio jazz shows for WFPK, Louisville. The Inner Ear and the most recent called Jazz Folio, an interview and performance show on which he has performed with and/or interviewed guests such as Phil Woods, Toots Thielmans and Paul Winter.

Contact information:
Dick Sisto
6260 Old Vincennes Road
Floyds Knobs, IN 47119

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