[image-1]Acclaimed soprano saxophonist Stefano “Cocco” Cantini and his quartet perform at The Cistern this evening (Sun. May 25 at 9 p.m.) during another elegant Wachovia Jazz Series event. The Tuscany-based saxophonist is well-known for blending traditional jazz styles with traditional Italian folk and classical work. He names his favorite and most influential saxophonists as John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Dave Liebman, and John Simon.

“Coltrane’s A Love Supreme as the first album I remember having in the house as a child,” he told City Paper last week. “He’s still my favorite saxophonist.’

[image-2]But the origin of his amusing nickname may not be so well known: “The word ‘cocco’ is the translation of ‘coconut’ here,” Cantini explains. [image-3]“When I was a child, I really liked ice creams. The one I liked most had a comic print design of a cowboy character.” Cocco Bill was an absurd Wild West cartoon character drawn by an Italian artist Benito Jacovitti. The character ended up on the wrapper for gelati in the 1970s. “I took this cowboy name because I really like the ice cream and the image on the ice cream cover,” he says. “That’s why my friends nicknamed me Cocco.”