Gene Bianco

Real Name:
Eugene Capobianco
Profile:
Born Eugene Capobianco 29 March 1927, Hartford, Connecticut, jazz enthusiast Gene Bianco started off his career as a classical virtuoso harpist, and toured with major orchestras to rave reviews. His love for jazz, however, prompted him to explore the concept of using harp as a jazz instrument, an idea that was hitherto unheard of. Having appeared as a solo act in a variety of New York nightclubs, he later teamed up with guitarist Mundell Lowe and percussionist Joe Venuto to form a jazz trio which released an album on the obscure Major Records label. Soon after, RCA signed the group to a three-album contract, under which the albums "Stringin' the Standards" and "Harp, Skip and Jump!" were released.

However, RCA had a different idea of where the harp belonged. For a new record club partnership with Readers Digest, RCA bought out the existing contract and entered into a new contract with Gene Bianco which obliged him to produce easy-listening albums catered to the "middle-class market" (as described by a certain author). The first album, Joy To The World, was a hit. By then, Gene Bianco had been recast as "The Rainbow Sounds of Bianco" with his own personal logo on the front of his albums, which enjoyed first-class productions, and a full orchestra.

Nonetheless, Bianco prefers and opted for the anonymity and independence of life as a freelance session jazz musician, and ended up playing on dozens of great jazz recordings, such as all three of Paul Desmond's string albums, on Gil Evans' "Blues in Orbit", on Herbie Mann's "Push, Push", Alan Lorber's "Lotus Palace", and others. He also recorded with some of the best jazz singers around, including Carmen McCrae and Marlena Shaw. Some of his best session work of the 1960s and 1970s now shows up on sampling favorites such as the Blue Break Beats.

After 30 years as a studio player, Bianco went into the recording booth as a musical coordinator and contractor, screening and hiring musicians for recording sessions. Respected throughout the business, he worked with acts as diverse as Mary J. Blige, D Train, Stevie Nicks, Natalie Cole, and even Ray Charles. Recently, he put together the orchestra that accompanied tenor saxman Joe Lovano on Viva Caruso. He and Mundell Lowe even pioneered an instrument combining the harp and electric guitar that is now a standard feature of many pop orchestrations.

Bianco's grandfather is Fillippo Capobianco, who was also a successful harpist in Italy.
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Albums

CAS 452 Harp, Skip & Jump — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco Featuring Mundell Lowe Gene Bianco Featuring Mundell Lowe - Harp, Skip & Jump (Album) RCA Camden CAS 452 US 1958 Sell This Version
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CSP-104 Joy To The World: Everybody's Favorite Christmas Music — Gene Bianco The Rainbow Sound Of Bianco, His Harp And Orchestra* Joy To The World: Everybody's Favorite Christmas Music RCA CSP-104 US 1962 Sell This Version
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CPM-105 Music For A Summer Evening — Gene Bianco Bianco* Music For A Summer Evening (Album) RCA CPM-105 US 1963 Sell This Version
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CSP-107 Sweet Songs Of Love — Gene Bianco Bianco, His Harp And Orchestra* Sweet Songs Of Love (Album) RCA Victor CSP-107 US 1964 Sell This Version
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CSP-110 Your All-Time Favorite Songs (As Chosen By Members Of The RCA Victor Record Club) — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco Your All-Time Favorite Songs (As Chosen By Members Of The RCA Victor Record Club) RCA CSP-110 US 1964 Sell This Version
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PA 233/234 Just A Minute! Bianco, His Harp & Ensemble — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco Just A Minute! Bianco, His Harp & Ensemble(LP, Mono) Sesac Recordings PA 233/234 US 1964 Sell This Version
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6031 Production Music — Gene Bianco Bill Potts / Gene Bianco / George Chase Bill Potts / Gene Bianco / George Chase - Production Music(LP, Mono) Major Records (7) 6031 US 1967 Sell This Version
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6030 No Title — Gene Bianco George Kleinsinger, Eddie Barefield, Max Martin (6), Gene Bianco, Bill Potts George Kleinsinger, Eddie Barefield, Max Martin (6), Gene Bianco, Bill Potts - No Title(LP, Mono) Major Records (7) 6030 US 1967 Sell This Version
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CPM-0125 The Wonderful Waltzes Of Richard Rodgers — Gene Bianco The Singing Strings With Bianco* The Singing Strings With Bianco* - The Wonderful Waltzes Of Richard Rodgers(LP, Mono, Club) RCA CPM-0125 US 1967 Sell This Version
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6039 Untitled — Gene Bianco Robert F. Valentino, Frank Perowsky, Bob Donovan, Gene Bianco Robert F. Valentino, Frank Perowsky, Bob Donovan, Gene Bianco - Untitled(LP, Album) Major Records (7) 6039 US 1968 Sell This Version
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Volume 15 Jazz — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco Jazz(LP) Comprehensive Video Supply Corporation Volume 15 US 1984 Sell This Version
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CSP-115, CSP115 Music To Make Your Heart Sing — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco Music To Make Your Heart Sing RCA CSP-115, CSP115 Australia Unknown Sell This Version
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CPS-6701 Sentimental Memories — Gene Bianco The Singing Strings, Bianco And His Harp* The Singing Strings, Bianco And His Harp* - Sentimental Memories RCA CPS-6701 US Unknown Sell This Version
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6038 Production Music  — Gene Bianco Bill Potts, Marcel G. Frank, Robert F. Valentino, Gene Bianco Bill Potts, Marcel G. Frank, Robert F. Valentino, Gene Bianco - Production Music (LP, Mono) Major Records (7) 6038 US Unknown Sell This Version
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LP-1005 Sentimental Bouquet — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco Sentimental Bouquet(LP, Mono) Major Records (7) LP-1005 US Unknown Sell This Version
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Singles & EPs

V 530 Alarm Clock Rock / Harp Rock Boogie — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco Alarm Clock Rock / Harp Rock Boogie(7", Single) Viscount Records, Inc. V 530 US 1959 Sell This Version
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1913 Wall Flower / Heavenly Swing — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco Wall Flower / Heavenly Swing (Single) Fleetwood Records, Inc. 1913 US 1961 Sell This Version
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47-8897 Fascination — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco And The Stringalongs* Gene Bianco And The Stringalongs* - Fascination (Single) RCA Victor 47-8897 US 1966 Sell This Version
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none Limehouse Blues / Harpin' Boogie — Gene Bianco Gene Bianco The "Atom" Harp*, The Harpinaires Gene Bianco The "Atom" Harp*, The Harpinaires - Limehouse Blues / Harpin' Boogie(10", Promo) Starmaker (5) none US Unknown Sell This Version

Reviews

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napsgalore

napsgalore

May 12, 2022
This profile states that "His love for jazz, however, prompted him to explore the concept of using harp as a jazz instrument, an idea that was hitherto unheard of," but it's worth mentioning that Dorothy Ashby's "The Jazz Harpist" came out in 1957. You can see the liner notes for her album right here on Discogs to see mention of earlier jazz harpists. Bianco may have been one of few, but there was plenty of precedent for jazz harp when Bianco was recording.

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