Crispin Music


If you are seeking a legendary saxman steeped in the traditions of R&B, Blues, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, you have come to the right place. Crispin Cioe is a renowned music director, saxophonist, composer, and songwriter who has played and recorded with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Solomon Burke, Tom Waits, Ray Charles and the Ohio Players, among others. A founding member of the legendary horn section The Uptown Horns, Crispin has played on more than 600 albums. Featured in Westport Rocks! The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Crispin is counted among Connecticut’s most gifted musicians. 


What’s New

In Performance at The White House

InPerformanceAtTheWhiteHouseLogoA Celebration of American Creativity

Crispin serves as Music Director for In Performance At The White House:  A Celebration of American Creativity.  Taped in October, 2015 before a live audience in the East Room of the White House with POTUS and FLOTUS in the front row, the show commemorates the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Crispin leads a stellar band in an Americana-tinged tribute that includes performances by James Taylor, Keb ‘Mo, Buddy Guy, Esperanza Spalding, Carol Burnett, Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, MC Lyte, Usher, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra MacDonald, Trombone Shorty, and Smokey Robinson.
In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of American Creativity debuts nationally on PBS stations Jan 8, 2016at 9/8c (Check local listings for future airings, or watch online at


The 2015 Mark Twain Prize

Eddie MurphyCelebrating Eddie Murphy

Crispin Cioe serves as Music director of the 2015 Mark Twain Prize honoring Eddie Murphy.  Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Kathy Griffin, Arsenio Hall, and a dynamic vocal duet by soul man Sam Moore and Brittany Howard (from  Alabama Shakes) are among the performers who saluted Eddie Murphy with the 2015 Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, taped in front of a packed house at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on Sunday, October 18 at 8 pm.

Eddie Murphy: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize debuts nationally on PBS stations Monday, November 23 at 9/8c (Check local listings).


Crispin Cioe performs on Darlene Love's debut album

Introducing Darlene Love Album

Throughout 2015, Crispin worked steadily with r&b diva Darlene Love and producer Steven Van Zandt toward the release and launch of her debut album, “Introducing Darlene Love”, which finally drops on Sept. 18, along with an extravaganza kickoff performance at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ with a 60-piece ensemble on Sept. 12, followed by performances at the Grammy Theatre in Los Angeles and the Whiskey A Go Go on Sept. 18 and 20.  And click here to watch the video from the album’s first single, “Forbidden Nights” (written by Elvis Costello).

Mark Twain Awards on PBS

The PBS “Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor, Celebrating Jay Leno” debuts on PBS stations nationally Sunday, November 23, 2014. Once again Crispin serves as musical director for the cherished television event.  This year, guest celebrants include Jimmy Fallon, Jerry Seinfeld, Garth Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Chelsea Handler, Wanda Sykes, and Kevin Eubanks.  The show was taped live in front of a sold-out house at the Kennedy Center, with Crispin will be onstage composing, arranging and conducting an all-star version of his band Cracked Ice for the event.

2014 Recent Session Work

Crispin in the Studio with Steven Van Zandt

This summer/fall, Crispin has been hard at work with producer Steven Van Zandt recording a new album for Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love, as a solo saxist and with the Uptown Horns.  The album will reportedly feature new songs by Van Zandt, Elvis Costello, Carole King, Bruce Springsteen and others — all written expressly for Ms. Love’s new project.  Crispin also continues to perform live with Darlene Love, who is featured in the 2014 Academy Award-winning documentary “20 Feet From Stardom”, and is drawing record crowds to her live shows around the nation!

A Lover Like You

Crispin has been co-writing/producing new songs with Angel Rissoff and Seth Glassman, and in August, they released their first single as a production team, “A Lover Like You”, by Angel Rissoff & Cracked Ice (feat. Susan D.), which has already garnered airplay and charted on the Beach Music scene in the Carolinas.  Angel continues to perform with Crispin’s band Cracked Ice in the Northeast.

Crispins records for Jeffrey Dean Foster and others

Over the past few months, Crispin has arranged and recorded horns and sax solos at his studio, SaxOn Sound, for new albums by Jeffrey Dean Foster, Brett Harris, Colman Gota, A Fragile Tomorrow, and Chris Stamey.

Uptown Horns in studio for Jeff Jolly's Pizza

And working with the Uptown Horns earlier this year, Crispin recorded a new album for the San Francisco-based Jeff Jolly Band.

2013 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song: Carole King

May, 2013:  Crispin served as Co-Musical Director (with longtime colleague Robbie Kondor) for the “2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song”.  This year it honors Carole King, in a star-studded tribute taped live from the East Room of the White House, with President Obama and his family in attendance.  Guests artists include King, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Trisha Yearwood, Gloria Estefan, Emeli Sande, and Jesse McCartney.  The program debuted on PBS stations nationally Tuesday, May 28, 8pm EST, check local listings for rebroadcasts ( or see the full concert at ).


Summer, 2013 – Crispin Cioe, Bob Funk, Arno Hecht, & Larry Etkin — the Uptown Horns — were each inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in NYC.

Crispin and the Uptown Horns appear live with J. Geils Band:  At “Boston Strong” on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at the Boston Garden, a benefit concert  for victims of the the Marathon bombing, also featuring Aerosmith, James Taylor and Carole King, Dropkick Murphys, Jimmy Buffet, Jason Aldean, New Kids on the Block, Steven Wright, and Dane Cook. • On the road throughout July, 2013, opening for Bon Jovi, including July 12 (Soldier Field, Chicago), July 18 (Ford Field, Detroit), July 20 (Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA), July 25 & 27 (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)

Willy DeVille documentary – In production:  “Heaven Stood Still”, a documentary feature film about the life and music of Willy DeVille, founder of the band Mink DeVille, has begun production (including filmed interviews with Peter Wolf, Ben E. King, Al Kooper, Wayne Kramer, and Christine Ohlman, with more to follow).  Crispin is co-producing the film with director Larry Locke   ( ).

My Latest Gigs

Crispin & The Uptown Horns w/ The Real Sidemen

Crispin & The Uptown Horns w/ The Real Sidemen

Fri.,July 8, 7:30 pm outdoor concert in Glen Cove, Read More »
Crispin w/ Bad News Barnes & The Brethren of Blues

Crispin w/ Bad News Barnes & The Brethren of Blues

Sat., July 9, 9pm at Black-Eyed Sally's, Hartford, Read More »
Join Crispin w/ Darlene Love in NYC

Join Crispin w/ Darlene Love in NYC

Sat., July 23 7:30pm, at Lincoln Center/Damrosch P Read More »
Crispin w/ Cracked Ice in Westport, CT

Crispin w/ Cracked Ice in Westport, CT

Sunday, July 24, 7:00, a free outdoor concert at T Read More »


Join Crispin w/ Cracked Ice in NYC Sat., Feb. Read More »
Join Crispin at Stand For The Troops |

Join Crispin at Stand For The Troops |

Wed. Nov. 11th, 2015 - A Star-Studded Veteran's Da Read More »
Join Crispin at Fairfield Theatre Co. |

Join Crispin at Fairfield Theatre Co. |

Friday, Nov.13, 7:30pm - That 70's Show, to benefi Read More »
Join Crispin at The Copper Fox Saloon

Join Crispin at The Copper Fox Saloon

Sat., Nov. 14, 10pm - Terrapin Crispin performs o Read More »
Crispin w/ Darlene Love & Steven Van Zandt

Crispin w/ Darlene Love & Steven Van Zandt

Fri.,9/18 & Sun.,9/20 at Whiskey A Go Go, LA, Read More »
Crispin w/ Paul Wexler & Wexwax

Crispin w/ Paul Wexler & Wexwax

Thurs., Jan. 15, 7pm, at The Sidewalk Cafe, NY Read More »
Crispin with Darlene Love

Crispin with Darlene Love

Sat., Jan.24, at West Point, NY Read More »
Crispin & "The Mark Twain Prize honoring Jay Leno"

Crispin & "The Mark Twain Prize honoring Jay Leno"

Debuts on PBS stations nationally Sun.,Nov. 23 Read More »

My Latest Blog Posts

  • Crispin Cioe NYC Poster 2 Stand For The Troops Join Crispin at Stand For The Troops |

    Wed. Nov. 11th, 2015 – A Star-Studded Veteran’s Day Concert Next Wednesday, November 11th, join us for this excellent concert Veteran’s Day event “Stand For the Troops” at Ethical Culture Concert Hall, 2 W. 64th St., NYC, 7pm, featuring guest performers […]

  • Crispin and Kiku At Kennedy Center Mark Twain Awards Crispin & Kiku at the Kennedy Center

    On Oct. 18, 2015, we taped the “18th Annual Mark Twain Prize for Humor, honoring Eddie Murphy” (which debuts Nov. 23 on PBS stations nationally).  My band that night included trumpeter Kiku Collins, mugging with me here at dress rehearsal […]

  • Brittany Howard Alabama Shakes Shaking it with Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard

    Had some big fun last Sunday at the Kennedy Center in DC, music directing the 18th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Honoring Eddie Murphy, which debuts nationally on PBS stations Nov. 23, 2015. Pictured here: Brittany Howard (from […]

  • A Celebration of American Creativity Esperanza Spalding Amazing at the White House

    On Oct. 14 we taped a show in the East Room of the White House for PBS called “A Celebration of American Creativity”, which will debut on Jan. 8, 2016. One of the absolutely astounding artists we backed up that night […]

  • Adam Roth Support the Adam Roth Cancer Treatment Fund

    Adam is a longtime friend and a uniquely gifted musician who, with his brother Charlie, helped me at key moments throughout the entire span of my artistic endeavors here in Gotham. He embodies the spirit of rock and roll past […]

  • Joe Biden Full Length If VP Joe Biden Had My Hair . . .

    True Story   True story: 2013, in the East Room of the White House, just after Leon Pendarvis snapped this, Joe leaned in and whispered to me: “If I had your hair, I’d be President today. . . ” You […]

  • Cracked Ice Album Cover Cracked Ice “Soul Noir”

    Cracked Ice’s latest release, Soul Noir, is retro-nuevo soul/r&b, like soul classics, only brand new ones you’ve never heard before! Available for listening and purchase at and for download at iTunes.