From July 6 through November 12, 2022, On November 12, 2022, Gene “Cip” Cipriano passed away quietly at home, surrounded by loved ones. He was 94. Gene contributed to countless Jazz and Pop records and Film and Television soundtracks, making him one of Hollywood’s most recorded musicians.
On July 6, 1928, Gene was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to parents Fred and Louise Cipriano. Gene decided he wanted to be a musician at eight while getting clarinet instruction from his father. His passion led him to pick up the saxophone, flute, and oboe.
Gene obtained a position with the Ted Fio Rito Band while still a high school student, where he met Doc Severinsen. After graduating high school, Gene joined the Tony Pastor Band, where he first met Rosemary Clooney. Gene subsequently met Henry Mancini after he relocated to New York and joined the Tex Beneke Band.
Gene later joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, where he met Frances Irvin, who would become his wife. After relocating to California and getting married on February 7, 1953, Gene and Frances had four kids: Genie, Suzanne, Fred, and Paul.
Henry Mancini hired Gene soon after he relocated to California to play the flute on the new TV series “Peter Gunn.” Gene’s music career took off after that. Some Like it Hot, West Side Story, Cleopatra, Charade, The Thomas Crown Affair, and The Wild Bunch are just a few movies he has worked on.
In Some Like it Hot, Gene played the saxophone whenever Tony Curtis did. My Three Sons, Batman, Mission Impossible, Star Trek, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, The Simpsons, and Family Guy are just a few of the television shows he appeared in.
His jazz collaborations with Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Shelly Manne, Gerry Mulligan, and Shorty Rogers are among his accomplishments. The Pop Musicians then knocked on the door. Gene collaborated with numerous musicians, including Helen Reddy, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Neil Diamond, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Frank Zappa, and Frank Sinatra.
Moreover, Gene occasionally performed with the Wrecking Crew, a collection of studio musicians who contributed to artists’ recordings, including The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, and Sonny and Cher. The Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards, and the Academy Awards are also credited to Gene.
Since 1958, he has been a part of the Academy Awards Orchestra and has only missed three performances. Gene was seen exclaiming “Hey” to Barbra Streisand as she accepted an Oscar at the 1977 Academy Awards show because that was his favorite word. Barbra then “Yo’d” back.
How much Chris Walden is missing him can be gauged from the tweet below:
Yo Cip! RIP Gene Cipriano. I’ll miss him dearly. pic.twitter.com/G15gNuYa0p
— Chris Walden (@Chris_Walden) November 13, 2022
Gene and his close musical friends presented a collection of jazz songs on their Album, First Time Out, which they recorded in 2005. Gene received the title concept from Natalie Cole. Gene met the singer Catherine “Cat” Conner four years or so after the passing of his wife, Frances. The two grew close and even started a little band.
They performed all across Los Angeles and occasionally even farther afield. Cat cared for Gene till he passed away, always by his side. Gene’s contagious laugh, broad smile, and enormous heart will be missed. He was usually upbeat, optimistic, and fun to be around. Gene is going to be recognized for his exceptional talent and humility.
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Also, he was always encouraging to upcoming young musicians. Everyone had a lot of love, respect, and admiration for Gene and sincerely looked up to him. He led a very fulfilling life. Gene Cipriano’s parents, Fred and Louise, his older sister, Josephine Laudano, his younger brother, Anthony Cipriano, and his wife, Frances Cipriano, all passed away before him.
Gene is survived by Catherine “Cat” Conner, his younger sister Marie DeMusis, and his four children Genie Bell (Phil Bell), Suzanne Christensen, Fred Cipriano, and Paul Cipriano. He also leaves behind two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren.