Nick Brignola's 45-year career brought him into contact with many of the most accomplished mainstream improvisers of his generation. Primarily identified with the baritone saxophone, he also performed and recorded using alto and soprano as well as flute and clarinet. Never exactly famous in the U.S. yet greatly appreciated by jazz lovers at home and by the international jazz community at large (especially during his final decade of activity), Brignola cut more than 20 albums as a leader and worked steadily as a respected sideman and featured guest soloist until shortly before his death in 2002. Born in Troy, NY, on July 17, 1936, he took up the clarinet when he was 11, and also experimented with alto and tenor saxophones and flute. Legend has it the baritone entered his life when he took his alto to a music store for repair and was lent the only member of the saxophone family that they had on hand. Brignola's first major influence on the big horn was Duke Ellington's esteemed anchor man Harry Carney, a Boston native who personally tutored and encouraged the aspiring musician, who had grown up on big bands and bebop.