An interview for the Aquarian and the East
Coast Rocker in March 2005
Local horn virtuoso Dan
Cipriano has been playing with a lot of bands lately... including a few
he's never even met! Besides his gigs with legendary artists such as
Wilson Pickett and Gary U.S. Bonds, as well as jamming with local
favorites such as DogVoices, Dan's latest endeavor is called
iHorns.com, in which he does the horn arrangements and recordings for
bands anywhere in the world.
"The site launched about a month ago and
I have recorded horn sections on 13 songs so far," says Dan. "I've
completed five sax solos, one flute solo and written two horn
arrangements for a touring act out of New Orleans. People generally
think it is great service because I let them listen to the final
product before they decide if they want to pay for it. My clients are a
lot more at ease sending their songs to me knowing they are not going
to get stuck paying for something that they are not crazy about. '
While the Internet may be the wave of the
future, it's still live performances that are the highlight for Dan. "
Getting the Wilson Pickett gig was great for me both professionally and
musically," he says. "It takes me around the world, meeting other
artists and musicians. Some of the Jazz and Blues festivals we play in
Europe and Australia are just amazing, and I've met some great artists
along the way."
While Dan has performed every type of
music, ranging from R&B and blues to jazz and rock, it's R&B
artists that have been the biggest influence on him. "Musically,
Wilson, along with Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles have always been my
heroes," he relates. "I learn so much more about playing horn from
vocalists than I do from horn players. Listening to R&B/Soul
vocalists teaches about phrasing and getting to the point musically
with less notes. That style of playing really helps you connect with
your audience whether it's live or in the studio. Every night I play
with Wilson he sings something that blows my mind. Most often it is
something rhythmically that just floors me. He is known for those
blood-curdling screams, but if you really listen his ballads he can lay
so far behind the beat and still keep you in the song with him. That's
Most musicians aspire to the limelight,
but Dan is content with the supporting role he plays. "As far as goals
go, I differ from most other musicians," he explains. "I love to work
and make a living as a musician and continue to grow as a player. I
don't have a need get my music out to the world or have my name up in
lights. I love being a sideman and the many hats you wear as a sideman.
One day you are playing a jazz gig in the village the next week you are
on a big stage somewhere in Europe and the following week you are in
the studio writing the arrangements and directing a horn section. That
kind of diverse playing makes you a better musician and covering many
styles helps you grow musically."
Despite that, he does sometimes end up
being very visible. "I played with the Allman Brothers a couple years
ago along with 'The Uptown Horns'" at the Beacon Theater," he recalls.
"Most of the shows I do I usually pick up a something from the concert
just as a keepsake from one of the vendors. We came in before the show,
and listened to the songs on a boom box that we would be performing on
that night. We went into the dressing room and worked out our parts,
then went up on stage and played the concert. It all moved so fast I
forgot pick up something to remember the gig by. About a week
later I looked on eBay for something from the show like a t-shirt or a
hat, but instead I found a bootleg video of me playing with the Allman
Brothers from that night. Of course, I was the highest bidder on it.!"
For further information about Dan, check
out his web site at www.dancipsax.com. For information about iHorns,
check out www.ihorns.com.