In his words…
“I like all kinds of music. I play with a variety of bands. I live for the music. “
Nick is the call musician in Western New York for bands that want a versatile sax player and soloist. His style is sometimes referred to as a “fat texas tenor” and his experience is gained through many of the legendary Western New York bands such as Stan and the Ravens, Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps and The Buffalo Blues Band. While he is known for his virtuosity in R&B, Soul and Blues, many fans do not know that he started his career in a big band like many great horn players.He started playing with Patti Parks band in 2010 and this high energy horn section (including Gerry Youngman and Paul Vancore) is known as the West Side Horns.
Nick started playing the clarinet in 6th grade and quickly moved to the sax. He said “I wanted to play trumpet but was lucky with his choice as clarinet is ultimately closer to sax.” At 16, he started playing with his first band and within 2 years he was playing with the great Stan Szelest in Stan and the Ravens one of the most famous of the local bands of the era. In addition to Nick, this band featured Sandy Konikoff on drums, Tommy Calandra on bass, Ernie Corallo on guitar, and Stan Szelest on keyboards, offering audiences a mix of rock and roll, blues and original music. He remembers:“The band worked all of the time. We played at the Hideaway on E Delavan 6 nights per week and every Sunday afternoon played at Glen Casino for 5 years.” In 1961, Nick did the promotion for the Rockin Rebels who were famous for the song “Wild Weekend”. He appeared on American Bandstand and went on the road as Mickey and Jimmy Kipler from were too young to travel.
In June,1966 Nick’s life changed again when he was drafted and went into the Army Band in Fort Dix, NJ. The day he arrived at boot camp he ran into the legendary Grover Washington Jr. , a friend from Hutch Tech High School. Grover said he could get him in the band and got him an audition. The result was that he spent his army career working in bands including The Army Band with the legendary Grover Washington Jr.who is also from Buffalo. When he had 6 months left to serve, the army shipped him to Fort Gordon,GA where he played with Maceo Parker and met James Brown. He left the army in 1968 and went back with Stan Szelest and the Ravens. When Stan went on the road, Nick played with a local band and in 1970 worked with the Latin Music band called the Coincidentals which included female twins as the singers. An important person in Nick’s life has been Nick Veltri, another member of the Patti Parks Band. When Nick was playing at the Executive Night Club in 1972 he ran into Nick Veltri. Salamone said “Veltri asked me to if I wanted to come and play with the Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps. Salamone responded ” I don’t want to play Rock n Roll. ” Veltri promotly said “Do you want to make 500 a week? Salamone rejoined “I love Rock n roll.” Both men played with Big Wheelie until a fateful tour in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1974 (which you have to ask them about when you see them). Nick also played with Sam Gaurino’s band called National Trust for 2-3 years and in 1978 he Nick moved to Sarasota, FL where he played with small jazz bands.
In July 1980, Nick received another fortunate offer from Nick Veltri to form the Buffalo Blues Brothers which included Nick Veltri on bass, Billy McEwen and Jon Rose on vocals, Pete Tecora on sax, Jay Dzinna on guitar (later Doug Morgano), Tommy Russo on drum (later Pete Holquin), and Clay Stahlka on organ. In 1984, he played with various local bands including Barbara St. Clair’s band and later went on the road with the band Every Day People. In 1991, he went back with Big Wheelie and has played with numerous local bands throughout this time. All of this great experience goes into every show he plays with Patti Parks and extends to the other musicians he works with every day.