Gene “Cip” Cipriano was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and eight years old when his father, a clarinetist, decided to teach his son to play. A lot of kids might buck at such paternal pedantry, but not Gene. He relished lunchtime, when he would race home from school and listen to Benny Goodman on the radio. It was Artie Shaw’s recording of “Stardust”, however, that added inspiration to perspiration.
Gene Cipriano would go on to become one of the most prolific multi-instrumentalists in history, accruing an obscene discography any would-be English horn player, oboist, or saxophonist would drool over. It spans five decades and includes collaborations with artists such as Cannonball Adderley, Christina Aguilera, Paul Anka, Ann-Margret, Shirley Bassey, Tex Beneke, Michael Bolton, Pat Boone, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Tony Danza, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Doris Day, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Gloria Estefan, Gil Evans, Michael Feinstein, Jose Feliciano, Ella Fitzgerald, David Foster , Judy Garland, Erroll Garner, Crystal Gayle, Russ Giguere, Joao Gilberto, Lesley Gore, Herbie Hancock, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Henry Mancini, Barry Manilow, Dean Martin, Billy May, Bette Midler, Ronnie Milsap, Thelonious Monk, Rick Nelson, Michael Nesmith, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Mike Post, Elvis Presley , Louis Prima, Prince, Lionel Richie, Adam Sandler, Seals & Crofts, Doc Severinsen, Frank Sinatra , David Soul, Brent Spiner, Barbra Streisand, Toni Tennille, Mel Torme, Billy Vaughn, Tom Waits, Dinah Washington, Barry White, John Williams , Nancy Wilson, and Frank Zappa.
He was also active in film, making multiple appearances as part of the Academy Awards Orchestra and performing on the soundtracks of Charade, The Color Purple, Diamonds, Dick Tracy, Electra Glide in Blue, Murph the Surf, A New Kind of Love, Out to Sea, Pacific Heights, Rhino!, Swing Kids, and Viva Las Vegas. His television credits include The Blues, Dallas, Elvis TV Special, Hawaii Five-O, Richard Diamond, The Simpsons, and Thriller.
After fifty years as a session musician, Gene Cipriano finally released his solo debut in 2006. First Time Out is a collection of twenty jazz and pop standards such as “After You’ve Gone”, “East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)”, “I Thought About You”, “Lover Come Back to Me”, “Moonglow”, “Stars Fell on Alabama”, and “Where or When”. It features fellow session veterans Endre Granat (Concertmaster) and Dick Nash (Trombone). Cipriano and Nash both appear on the recordings below.
Here he is performing a tenor sax solo…
Here is “Kiji Takes a Ride” by the Sammy Nestico Big Band.