by W. Kim Heron
Nuccilli was a consummate arranger of his own originals and the works of the greats. When his group was featured during the Detroit Jazz Fest -- if memory serves me, he was a closing or near-closing act a good number of times -- you could always count on him gathering together a cream-of-the-crop big band, and matching the guys with captivating arrangements. Some years you'd get to the end of the festival and feel you'd heard just a few too many standard arrangements of standard standards, and then Ed and company would swing into fresh territory.
"His charts are so heavy that once I was playing one and I burst out crying. It just hit me on a spiritual level. Cats don’t write like that anymore," reedman Wendell Harrison told MT's jazz scribe Charles Latimer for 2005 profile. At the time, Nuccilli, 80, had taken up a monthly residency at Baker's Keyboard Lounge.
Latimer's 2005 profile is a good read on Nuccilli's life and artistry. Testimonials from area musicians are being added to the Ed Nuccilli & Plural Circle page of Facebook. There's also more about Ed and the band at pluralcircle.com.