Gene Cipriano, the always busy woodwind player who soloed the tenor sax for Tony Curtis in Some like it hot and was recorded with everyone from Miles Davis, Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra to Glen Campbell, Paul McCartney and Olivia Newton-John, passed away. He was 94 years old.
Cipriano died on November 12 of natural causes at his home in Studio City, his son Paul said. Hollywood Reporter.
Probably the most recorded woodwind player in the history of show business, Cipriano played the soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxophone, all clarinet and flute, bass oboe and oboe, piccolo and trumpet. Older brother.
Affectionately known as “Cip,” the session musician has performed as a member of the Academy Awards Orchestra in the vicinity 60 times since 1958. (At a 1977 performance. , he traded “yo’s” with Barbra Streisand, who had just taken the podium after winning for “Evergreen.”)
Cipriano played the oboe at the start of Sinatra’s melancholy song “It Was a Very Good Year,” and he performed some of Campbell’s early hits, including “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I.” Get to Phoenix.”
Like Campbell, he is an occasional member of The Wrecking Crew, the group of famous studio musicians who have recorded with the likes of The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra and Sonny & Cher.
“It was interesting because so many times the composer said to the rhythm part, ‘Think of something wild that fits this particular piece,’” Cipriano recalled in a 2019 interview for the site. Web Making Life Swing. “They will come up with something and then they advertise and tell us what to play. Sometimes we compose music on the spot.”
Shortly after moving from New York to California in the 1950s, Cipriano was hired by Henry Mancini to play the flute on NBC’s new crime series. Peter Gunn. The pair then collaborated on CBS’ lucky man and in movies including The days of wine and roses (1962), Hatari! (1962), Word puzzle game (1963) and Hawaiian (1970).
Cipriano worked alongside Johnny Mandel on starling (1965) and with Michel Legrand on The Thomas Crown Case (1968) and was heard on West Side Story (1961), Queen Cleopatra (1963), Americanize Emily (1964), Straight shot (1967), wild bunch (1969), Connect France (1971), man running marathon (1976), One From The Heart (1981), Karate boy (1984), Up (2009) and beyond.
Born on July 6, 1928 in New Haven, Connecticut, Cipriano began taking clarinet lessons from his father, Fred, who had played on Broadway and with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
He put a clarinet in my hand when I was eight years old, he said. “I started listening to Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
As a junior in high school, Cipriano gave a gig with Ted Fio Rito’s orchestra, where he met trumpeter Doc Severinsen. After finishing school, he worked with Clooney and her sister Betty in Pastor Tony’s Band, with pianist Mancini in the Tex Beneke Band, and with singer Frances Irvin, his fiancée, in the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
After he moved to California, Mancini gave him a big opportunity Peter Gunn. “That got me started because it became a hot commodity and then all the other leaders said, ‘Well, call me the guys who used to play with Henry Mancini,'” he noted in another interview in 2019.
Cipriano also performed in Elvis Presley’s NBC comeback special in 1968. Over the years he has recorded with Shorty Rogers, Harry Nilsson, Neil Diamond, Thelonious Monk, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Gerry Mulligan , Helen Reddy, Barry Manilow and Seth MacFarlane. He has also played on numerous Emmy and Grammy television shows.
In 2006, Cipriano recorded his own CD, Going out for the first timeCollection of jazz tunes.
In addition to his son Paul, the survivors include his other children, Genie, Suzanne and Fred; grandsons Grant and Alicia; great-grandchildren of Natalie and Emily; and sister Marie.
His wife of 43 years, Frances, died in 1996. Four years later, Cipriano met singer Catherine “Cat” Conner, and they performed throughout Los Angeles in a small band. She took care of him until he passed away.