Gene Cipriano was born on July 6, 1929 in New Haven, Connecticut.  Cip was brought up in a very Italian neighborhood, comparable to Little Italy in NYC.  Initially, like most kids his age, he wanted to hang with his boys on Worcester Street in New Haven and frequent Frank Pepe’s Pizza place. His Dad, however, had other ideas and made him learn theory and started giving him clarinet lessons at age 8. 

Eventually, Cip would get serious about horns and picked up the saxophone, played in the high school orchestra band and joined a Union so he could get booked playing club dates. Before he was old enough to attend college, he was playing gigs at Yale University for some of the coolest parties on campus.

While Cip was a junior in high school, he joined the Ted Fio Rito band that featured singers Betty Grable and June Haven, and Doc Severinson on trumpet and Donn Trenner on piano. He did gigs at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, when Benny Goodman’s band followed them as the headliner, and a featured event at the pier was horse diving.

Another regular gig at that time was playing the Edgewater Beach Hotel. During one of those stays, on the first day, there was a knock on the door from the hotel manager.  She said that he had to stop practicing or they had to leave because people were complaining.  He agreed and apologized until the second day. On day two, again he was practicing and she knocked again, this time to let them know they had to go. He went to the office to plead his case, flute in hand, and noticed she had an Irish last name on her nameplate. He broke into “Oh, Danny Boy” for her. Needless to say, she enjoyed it so much she was brought to tears, and said they were welcome to stay.

Cip completed high school in the mid-40’s and while his parents wanted him to be a dentist or a pharmacist, thinking either would be great careers, Gene knew in his heart that wasn’t to be. One Sunday while sitting at home, the phone rang and it was Jimmy Campbell who was managing the Harry James Band. Jimmy said that their tenor sax player was ill and they needed someone to fill in. Cip thought it was a joke and hung up on him. It’s a good thing he called back - they went to Boston to play the RKO Theater. Afterwards, Cip went back home to sit in for a gig with the Tony Pastor band at the Shubert Theater, featuring Betty and Rosemary Clooney on vocals. That one gig turned in to 1-1/2 years with Tony’s band, along with many invitations to go to church with Rosemary Clooney.

After Cip left the Tony Pastor Band in 1947, he went to live in NYC, which was the place to be for jazz musicians.  He went to rehearsals with Boyd Raeburn Band, worked at the Paramount Theater, supporting acts like The Les Paul Trio and Andrews Sister. After that, he went to Washington, D.C. to work with the Gene Williams and The Claude Thornhill Orchestra. Some of the sidemen for this orchestra were Stan Getz, Harry Wegbreit, Jack Mootz, Don Josephs, Harry Di Vito, Dick Hoch, Sam Marowitz, Charlie O’Cain, Mickey Folus, Joe Reisman, Teddy Napoleon, Russ Saunders and Mel Zelnick, to name a few.

Cip had built a professional reputation by now and was sought after by some of the leaders in the jazz world. Sal, from Tex Beneke’s band, called and said that Tex was in need of a new player. He asked if Cip would play a radio broadcast with them. Not only did his pay go up to $120 a week, but also Henry Mancini and Edyie Gourmet were both his new band mates. He stayed with Tex for 1-1/2 years. Then Cip was asked to join Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra. As fate would have it, they did a 5-week engagement at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, where he met his future wife, Frances.

Fran and Cip were married in his hometown of New Haven in 1954. They had to travel to from Washington, D.C. during a big blizzard in February, to LA for a gig at the Palladium. Upon arriving, they decided that they would be moving to Los Angeles because of the scenery and weather.

Days after the pair arrived in LA, Cip was recommended for a year-long staff job with NBC Studios by drummer Max Albright.  In 1958, Cip received a call from Henry Mancini, who was working on a TV show pilot called “Peter Gunn”. Henry wanted to know if he played the flute.  Cip didn’t tell him that he had just sold his flute to by an oboe, but instead said yes, and ran out and rented one so he could shed on it to be ready.  This gig was the one that put Cip on the map in Hollywood. The TV and film industry were coming to light and he was sought after because he was proficient with multiple instruments. This pilot was the precursor to his first 3 movies, “West Side Story”, “Some Like It Hot” and “Cleopatra”. Cip was actually the playing the solos behind Tony Curtis’ acting in “Some Like It Hot”.

There were many club gigs in Los Angeles, including the Earl Carroll Theatre on Sunset Boulevard, Zero’s, The Crescendo Club gigs with Ella Fitzgerald, to name a few.

Cip has toured with the greats, including Frank Sinatra, and is credited with mastering instruments such as the Alto, Tenor, Soprano, Baritone, and Bass Saxophones as well as Oboe, Oboe D'Amore, English Horn, Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, E Flat Clarinet, and Contralto Clarinet. He has been one of the busiest working studio musicians of our time, including being a part of The Wrecking Crew.  The Wrecking Crew was a group of studio musicians in Los Angeles in the 1960s who played on hits for the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, Jan & Dean, The Monkees, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Mamas and Papas, Tijuana Brass, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Rivers and was Phil Spector's Wall of Sound.

Cip is also credited for making the word “Yo” a standard part of our vernacular, way before Yo! MTV Raps came about. It’s traced back to the 30’s-40’s originating in the Italian neighborhoods. Cip started using it regularly when he worked with Joe Ganz, a drummer. Each time Joe got ready to take his drum solo, he would say “Yo” and then started hitting. It stuck with him from that point forward. Cip even yelled out “Yo Barbra”, as Barbra Streisand passed by him in the orchestra pit on her way to collect her Academy Award for best song in the 60’s. That didn’t go over well with Johnny Green, the Music Director, but the orchestra members found it hilarious.

in 2012, Cip recorded his first solo cd for Bella Vino records which featured many of his legendary fellow players Tom Ranier, Pete Christlieb, Gary Foster, Warren eing, Dan Higgins, Chuck Berghofer and others. He played on the Oscars last year and played on the Emmy's the past 5 years. 

He plays in a lot of local Big Bands and when the Ron Jones Big Band plays, they back up Seth McFarlane. Other big bands are Johnny Mandel, Emil Richards and many more. He also has a small band along with his best female friend Cat Conner and they work at Vibrato, Vitello's and a few more local clubs. He just finished a project with Barry Manilow, and a few years back with Paul McCartney. he also has been in the band that plays for Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga. He also was a part of the Frank Sinatra 100th anniversary TV special at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas and can been heard and seen on the television show.

Frances and Cip had four children, Genie, Suzanne, Fred and Paul. He’s remained a devoted Father and dedicated husband until Frances passed.

TV Shows, Specials and Films (partial):

Peter Gunn

Mister Lucky

Ozzie and Harriett

The Flintstones (w/Hoyt Curtain)

My Three Sons


Police Woman

Judy Garland Shows – 1963


Glen Campbell Show

Love Boat

Knots Landing

Charlie’s Angels

Bionic Woman

Mission Impossible

Hawaii 5-0


Love American Style



Star Trek


McHale’s Navy




Green Hornet


Family Guy

American Dad

Rush Hour

The Godfather

The Thomas Crown Affair (original)

The Sandpiper

Elvis Presley Specials

All Sinatra Specials

CBS Special, played oboe in 60’s with Gordon Jenkins

The Emmys

Academy Awards (all but 3 since 1958)

Peoples’ Choice Awards

The Grammys


Records (not listed in discography):


Stan Kenton

Bobby Darin


Bette Midler

Jaco Pastorius

Olivia Newton John


Helen Reddy

Michel Colombier

Harry Nielssen

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

The Monkees

Leon Russell

Jimmy Webb

Ray Charles


Discography (partial):


1949 Blue Skies: The Irving Berlin Songbook Various Artists Woodwind
1951 Billy May Sessions Nat King Cole Sax (Alto)
1953 Complete Capitol Singles Collection Frank Sinatra Reeds
1956 Best of the Songbooks: Love Songs Ella Fitzgerald Woodwind
1956 Best of the Songbooks: The Collection Ella Fitzgerald Woodwind
1956 Capitol Recordings Louis Prima Saxophone
1956 Complete Ella Fitzgerald Song Books Ella Fitzgerald Woodwind
1957 Caution! Men Swinging Dennis Farnon Sax (Tenor)
1957 Ernie Andrews Ernie Andrews Sax (Alto)
1957 Get Happy Ella Fitzgerald Woodwind
1957 Here's What I'm Here For John Williams Saxophone
1957 Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Miles Davis Flute (Alto), Oboe, Sax (Tenor)
1957 Miles Davis and Gil Evans: Complete Columbia Studio R Miles Davis/Gil Evans Flugelhorn, Oboe, Sax (Tenor)
1958 Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book Ella Fitzgerald Woodwind
1959 Olé Tormé: Mel Tormé Goes South of the Border with Bi Mel Tormé & Billy May Woodwind
1960 Tribute to Artie Shaw Big Band All Stars Saxophone
1960 Tribute to Harry James Big Band All Stars Reeds
1961 Close-Up in Swing/A New Kind of Love Erroll Garner Woodwind
1962 Cal Tjader Plays the Contemporary Music of Mexico and Cal Tjader Reeds (Multiple)
1962 Quiet Nights Miles Davis Flute (Alto), Oboe, Sax (Tenor)
1963 Charade Henry Mancini Saxophone
1963 Love Rosemary Clooney Saxophone
1963 Songs of New York Mel Tormé Woodwind
1963 Sunday in New York and Other Songs About New York Mel Tormé Woodwind
1963 Uniquely Mancini Henry Mancini Woodwind
1963 You Brought a New Kind of Love Erroll Garner Wind, Reeds (Multiple)
1965 Beautiful Friendship The Three Sounds Oboe
1965 Sound of Henry Mancini Henry Mancini Flute, Sax (Tenor)
1965 Sandpiper Johnny Mandel Reeds
1965 Wonderful Life Irene Kral Saxophone
1967 Lumpy Gravy Frank Zappa Wind, Woodwind
1967 Mancini '67: The Big Band Sound of Henry Mancini Henry Mancini Saxes & Woodwinds
1968 Big Latin Band of Henry Mancini Henry Mancini Saxophone
1968 Randy Newman Randy Newman
1968 Welcome to My Love Nancy Wilson Bass, Sax (Tenor)
1968 Wichita Train Whistle Sings Michael Nesmith Wind, Woodwind
1969 Cantaloupe Island Jean-Luc Ponty Horn (English), Oboe
1969 John Braden John Braden Oboe
1969 King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa Jean-Luc Ponty Horn (English), Oboe
1969 Memento Clare Fischer Clarinet, Flute, Flute (Alto)
1970 Hawaiians Henry Mancini Hichiriki
1971 Barbra Joan Streisand Barbra Streisand Clarinet, Oboe
1971 Hexagram 16 Russ Giguere Wind
1971 Sweet Country Suite Larry Murray Horn, Horn (English)
1972 Mancini Salutes Sousa Henry Mancini Clarinet
1972 No Ordinary Child Jane Getz Clarinet
1973 Five & Dime David Ackles Sax (Baritone)
1973 Great Scott Tom Scott Horn (English)
1973 Heart Food Judee Sill Wind
1973 Michael Franks Michael Franks Horn
1973 hew! Claudia Lennear Saxophone
1974 Come a Little Closer Etta James Horn
1974 Evening With John Denver John Denver Orchestra
1974 Heart of Saturday Night Tom Waits Clarinet
1974 Instant Coffey Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band Horn
1974 Let's Love Peggy Lee Oboe
1974 Pussy Cats Nilsson Saxophone
1974 Son of Dracula Harry Nilsson Horn
1975 Come Get to This Nancy Wilson Horn (English)
1975 Duit on Mon Dei Harry Nilsson Saxophone
1975 I'll Play for You Seals & Crofts Wind, Reeds (Multiple)
1975 Living Together Fire & Rain
1975 Love Me By Name Lesley Gore Reeds
1975 Mirrors Peggy Lee Woodwind
1975 Murph the Surf Original Soundtrack Flute, Oboe, Sax (Baritone)
1975 Nancy Nevins Nanci Nevins
1975 Seriously Deep David Axelrod Wind
1976 Beautiful Noise Neil Diamond Horn
1976 Put It in Your Ear Paul Butterfield Saxophone
1976 That's the Way It Is Harry Nilsson Saxophone
1977 Foreign Affairs Tom Waits Clarinet
1977 Mancini's Angels Henry Mancini Horn (English), Oboe
1977 Motivation Bob Crewe Saxophone, Wind
1977 Phantazia Noel Pointer Woodwind
1977 laying to an Audience of One David Soul Clarinet
1978 Before the Rain Lee Oskar Horn
1978 Sunshine Bombers Sunset Bombers Horn, Brass
1979 'S Wonderful: Concord Jazz Salutes Ira Gershwin Various Artists Woodwind
1979 Holiday in Hollywood Richard Starr Reeds (Multiple), Woodwind
1979 Trilogy Frank Sinatra Woodwind
1979 Colilition Mike Post Wind
1980 Bit of Ireland Jerry Fielding Oboe
1980 Your World & My World Albert Hammond Wind
1982 Blues Trilogy Clare Fischer Clarinet, Flute (Alto)
1982 Escenas de Amor José Feliciano Oboe
1982 Lionel Richie Lionel Richie Wind
1982 Moments Like This Bobby Short Oboe
1982 One from the Heart Tom Waits/Crystal Gayle Sax (Tenor)
1983 Me Enamore José Feliciano Cor Anglais
1983 Previously Unavailable Michael Franks Woodwinds
1985 Color Purple Original Soundtrack Oboe
1986 We're Only in It for the Money/Lumpy Gravy Frank Zappa Saxes & Woodwinds
1988 16 Top Tracks Harry Nilsson Horn
1988 Do It Again Toni Tennille Woodwind
1988 Isn't It Romantic Michael Feinstein Reeds
1988 Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back Brent Spiner Woodwind
1989 Mujer Shirley Bassey Oboe
1990 Atlantic Jazz: 12 Vol. Box Set Various Artists Oboe, Woodwind
1990 Atlantic Jazz: Singers Various Artists Oboe, Woodwind
1990 Brasil 88: The Sound, The Music Various Artists Flute, Piccolo
1990 Dick Tracy [Original Soundtrack] Original Soundtrack Piccolo
1990 Pacific Heights Original Soundtrack Saxophone
1991 Here's to Life Shirley Horn Woodwind
1991 Showstoppers Barry Manilow Wind, Woodwind
1991 Unforgettable: With Love Natalie Cole Oboe, Woodwind
1992 Fine Fretted Friend Tommy Tedesco Flute, Horn (English), Oboe
1992 Good Medicine Doc Severinsen

1992 João João Gilberto Brass
1992 Just for You Barry White Flute
1993 American Jazz Philharmonic American Jazz Philharmonic Woodwind
1993 Duets Frank Sinatra Saxophone, Woodwind
1993 Evening With John Denver John Denver Orchestra
1993 Forever Michael Feinstein Woodwind
1993 Just in Time Lucie Arnaz Clarinet, Flute, Sax (Tenor)
1994 Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 to 1957 Bing Crosby Sax (Tenor)
1994 Gershwin Songbook: 'S Marvelous: Various Artists Woodwind
1994 Jazz 'Round Midnight: Bossa Nova Various Artists Woodwind
1994 Smile (Tribute to Hollywood) Julia Migenes Woodwind
1995 Big Country David Axelrod Reeds
1995 Blues and the Beat Henry Mancini Woodwind
1995 Christmas Album David Foster's the Christmas Album Clarinet, Flute, Oboe
1995 Christmas Through Your Eyes Gloria Estefan Woodwind
1995 Complete Gershwin Songbooks Various Artists Woodwind
1995 Jazz 'Round Midnight: Three Divas Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday & Dinah W Woodwind
1995 Mercury Years Harvey Mandel Sax (Tenor)
1995 New Standard Herbie Hancock Horn (English), Oboe
1995 Now & Then Dolores Hope Flute, Oboe
1995 Swing Kids Original Soundtrack Saxophone, Woodwind
1996 Big Bands [Musidisc] Various Artists Sax (Tenor)
1996 Blue Condition Bobby Caldwell Woodwind
1996 Columbia Years The Hi-Lo's Saxophone
1996 Dancers Delight Tex Beneke & His Orchestra Sax (Tenor)
1996 Dedicated to Nelson Rosemary Clooney Oboe, Sax (Baritone)
1996 In My Lifetime Neil Diamond Musician
1996 Jazz Best Orchestra Various Artists Sax (Tenor)
1996 Mel Tormé Collection Mel Tormé Woodwind
1996 Natural High [Collection] Bloodstone Cor Anglais
1996 Que Sera, Sera [Bear Family] Doris Day Saxophone
1996 This Is Jazz, Vol. 5 Thelonious Monk Saxophone
1996 This Is the Time: The Christmas Album Michael Bolton Clarinet
1997 Barrelhouse, Boogie & Blues Ella Mae Morse Sax (Tenor)
1997 Blues in the Night: The Johnny Mercer Songbook Various Artists Woodwind
1997 Classics: The Early Years/Jazz Singer/Beautiful Noise Neil Diamond Horn
1997 Come On-A My House [Box] Rosemary Clooney Saxophone
1997 Complete Irving Berlin Songbooks Various Artists Woodwind
1997 Fifties: Complete Pat Boone Saxophone
1997 João João Gilberto
1997 Miles Davis & Gil Evans 1957-1963 Miles Davis Flute (Alto), Oboe, Sax (Tenor)
1997 Mothers & Daughters Rosemary Clooney Woodwind
1997 Move Over Darling Doris Day Saxophone
1997 Out to Sea [Original Soundtrack] Original Soundtrack Woodwind
1997 Remember Romance Steven Davis Sax (Tenor)
1997 Sail Along Silv'ry Moon Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra Saxophone
1998 Complete Johnny Mercer Songbook Various Artists Woodwind
1998 Concord Jazz Heritage Series Rosemary Clooney Saxophone
1998 Jazz Singers 1919-1994 Various Artists Flute
1998 Manilow Sings Sinatra Barry Manilow Reeds
1998 Memories of You Rosemary Clooney Saxophone
1998 Monica Mancini Monica Mancini Woodwind
1998 Mythical Kings and Iguanas/Reflections in a Mud Puddl Dory Previn Saxophone
1998 Return to Me Dean Martin Saxophone
1998 Trav'lin Light: The Johnny Mercer Songbook Various Artists Woodwind
1999 1961-1966 Ann-Margret Clarinet, Saxophone
1999 For Heaven's Sake Pete Christlieb Horn
1999 Like Young Buddy Greco Woodwind
1999 Stan and Judy's Kid Adam Sandler Saxophone
1999 That's My Kick/Gemini/Magician/Gershwin & Kern/Dreams Erroll Garner Woodwind
1999 This Ones from the Heart James Darren Sax (Tenor)
1999 Ultimate Anita O'Day Anita O'Day Sax (Tenor)
1999 You're Sensational: Cole Porter in the 20's 40's & 50 Various Artists
2000 Big Band Sounds Henry Mancini Sax (Tenor)
2000 Diamonds [Original Soundtrack] Original Soundtrack Saxophone
2000 Grazin'/Highly Distinct The Friends of Distinction Flute, Horn (English), Oboe, Piccolo
2000 Legacy [Capitol] Rick Nelson Reeds
2000 Many a Wonderful Moment Rosemary Clooney Clarinet, Clarinet (Bass), Oboe, Saxophone
2000 Music in the Miller Mood Tex Beneke Sax (Tenor)
2000 My Kind of Christmas Christina Aguilera Saxophone, Woodwind
2001 Columbia Years: '62-'68 Thelonious Monk Sax (Alto)
2001 David Axelrod David Axelrod Reeds
2001 Keely Sings Sinatra Keely Smith Woodwind
2001 Mel Tormé's Finest Hour Mel Tormé Woodwind
2001 Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones Quincy Jones Woodwind
2001 Rush Hour 2 [Score] Original Score Clarinet
2002 Duit on Mon Dei/Sandman Nilsson Reeds, Saxophone, Sax (Baritone), Sax (Tenor)
2002 Everybody Loves Somebody: The Reprise Years 1962-1966 Dean Martin Flute, Saxophone
2002 Greatest Hits [2002] Harry Nilsson Horn
2002 Greatest Hits [Japan Import] Harry Nilsson Horn
2002 House I Live In Tony Danza Saxophone, Woodwind
2002 Lay Some Happiness On Me: The Reprise Years Dean Martin Saxophone
2002 Out of This World Rosemary Clooney Oboe, Sax (Baritone)
2002 Rawhide Frankie Laine Saxophone, Sax (Tenor)
2002 That's the Way It Is Harry Nilsson Saxophone
2003 1962-1968 Thelonious Monk Saxophone
2003 Best of the Concord Years Rosemary Clooney Reeds, Sax (Baritone)
2003 Birdland Masanori Sasaji & L.A. Allstars Oboe
2003 Concord Records 30th Anniversary Various Artists Sax (Tenor), Woodwind
2003 Diva Series Anita O'Day Sax (Tenor)
2003 Essential Thelonious Monk Thelonious Monk Saxophone
2003 Flying Groove Various Artists Saxophone
2003 Jazz Singer Rosemary Clooney Saxophone
2003 Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Piano Blues Original Soundtrack Saxophone
2003 More Than You Know [Bonus Tracks] Toni Tennille Woodwind
2004 Bobby Short on the Eastside/Moments Like This Bobby Short Oboe
2004 Electra Glide in Blue Original Soundtrack Woodwind
2004 Five & Dime [Bonus Tracks] David Ackles Sax (Baritone)
2004 Glenn Miller Story: Centenary Collection, Vol. 17-20 Glenn Miller Sax (Tenor)
2004 Heart Food [Expanded] Judee Sill Musician
2004 Just for a Thrill Ronnie Milsap Reeds
2004 One from the Heart [Bonus Tracks] Tom Waits/Crystal Gayle Sax (Tenor)
2004 Scores: Songs from Copacabana and Harmony Barry Manilow Woodwind
2005 Boy Meets Girl: Sammy Davis, Jr. & Carmen McRae on De Sammy Davis Jr./Carmen McRae Woodwind
2005 Domination [Bonus Tracks] Cannonball Adderley Saxophone
2005 Electric Connection/King Kong Jean-Luc Ponty Horn (English), Oboe

2005 Gene Cipriano First Time Out

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