Jazz Insights: Irving Lipson

RI’s own Irving Lipson was known for his reed instrument performances throughout New England. He was born on PVD’s East Side in 1902. Irving played mostly tenor saxophone in his early years in several of Providence’s big bands. They performed regularly in Roger Williams Park, and Irving could often be seen soloing at the park’s popular bandstand.

On occasion, Irving would play gigs at Narragansett Race Track and Lincoln Downs with his younger brothers, George Lipson, who had become a veteran drummer, and Billy Lipson, who played harmonicas and sang. Their sister, Frances, would often sing with her talented brothers.

Irving is mostly known for his spectacular jazz solos on the saw. His saw performances brought him to the New England Finals, held in Manchester, New Hampshire. His famous waxed saw presentations procured the “Runner’s Up” trophy in 1961.

He passed away in 1969 at the age of 68, just after completing the Lipson Annual Family Weekend at Lincoln Woods.