The Tiptons Sax Quartet & Drums

Amy Denio Alto Saxophone/Clarinet/Voice,
Jessica Lurie Soprano,Alto & Tenor Saxophone/Voice,
Sue Orfield Tenor Saxophone/Voice,
Tina Richerson Baritone Saxophone/Voice
Robert Kainar Drums/Bells/Whistles

Since 1988, the all-women Tiptons Sax Quartet have been creating unparalleled musical splendor, covering genres from micro-big band to minimalism, from bluegrass to Balkan, from gospel to whimsical jazz to nocturnal funk.

Pre-order their 14th album ‘Wabi-Sabi’ now!

Listen to the Tiptons here.

Amy Denio, Jessica Lurie, Robert Kainar, Tina Richerson, Sue Orfield

Billy Tipton was born on on December 29, 1914 as Dorothy Lucille Tipton in Oklahoma City, OK. Tipton grew up in Kansas City, Missouri.  Though not allowed to join the high school band as a female, Tipton studied piano and saxophone privately, and quickly became an accomplished musician.

In 1933 Tipton auditioned for a traveling big band. Knowing the reality of discrimination based on gender, Tipton bound their chest and dressed as a man. They were accepted into the band and toured for several months. While in the band, they became involved with the lead female singer who taught Tipton the ins-and-outs of passing as a man in public and private.

Tipton achieved a successful music career throughout the Northwestern States of America as a band leader, recording artist, radio show host and booking agent. Tipton married five times and legally adopted two sons with their final partner, hiding their gender so successfully that only two cousins and the first two partners knew that Tipton was born a woman. Only after their death in 1989 was the secret publicly revealed.

Billy Tipton followed their passion for music against all odds. In homage to this courageous person, The Tiptons Sax Quartet & Drums have passionately created their music in collaboration with artists world-wide for 30 years.

Billy Tipton circa 1950


Mujer o bruja? (woman or witch?)

On October 22 & 23, 2021, The Tiptons Sax Quartet will premiere their
new multimedia project Mujer o Bruja? (Woman or Witch?) at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle, in collaboration with award-winning Latin American music duo Correo Aereo and digital artist Jing ‘Jude’ Dai, and directed by Madeleine Sosin.

Mujer o Bruja will be be featured in the Earshot Jazz Festival, and is co-sponsored by Nonsequitur as part of their Wayward Music Series. It is funded in part by an award from 4Culture (King County, Washington).


Dear friends,

Click here to digitally stream or download 14th Album Wabi Sabi!

Our fabulous 14th recording Wabi Sabi features eleven new compositions for saxophones, voice and drums. This powerful collection of new music illustrates beauty in our chaotic world, and is inspired by the Japanese philosophy “Wabi Sabi” which encourages us to “find beauty and take pleasure in the imperfect”.

Exploring modern field hollers, the hum of tires on the Autobahn, tricks for the mind, a yodeling deconstruction, popping funk for December’s doldrums, upbeat grooves for bad people with good intentions, this music delivers pure joy!

Wabi Sabi will galvanize your senses and take you on a vivid journey through unforgettable soundscapes.

Wabi Sabi

No one expected such a short European tour. We where all looking forward to a great 3 weeks in Europe to share the music from newest album Wabi Sabi. The first four concerts, we didn’t even have the physical copy to sell from the stage because the where not ready yet. We ended up picking up our new CD’s from SONY only one week before we had to fly home early due to the development of Covid-19. We will have our official release August 2020. You can pre-order your copy of the C.D. Starting in May. The Vinyl orders will have to wait to be shipped until international post resumes.



We’ve been busy! In January 2020, we recorded 11 amazing and scintillating new compositions for Wabi Sabi (our 14th album!) at Studio Litho in Seattle.
The CDs and LPs are in production, will arrive at our label chef’s grotto in Salzburg at any any moment! We are presenting the album in Europe.


Tues, 3 March: JENA, D @ Cafe Wagner

Weds, 4 March: POHRSDORF bei Tharand bei Dresden, D @ Saxstall

Thurs, 5 March: CHEMNITZ, D @ WELTECHO

Sat, 7 March: VILLACH, A @ Musik Schule ~ WORKSHOP 1000-1600

Sat, 7 March: KRANJ, SLO @ Trainstation Subart, 2100

Sun, 8 March: UDINE, I @ TeatrOsaria, 2100

Tues, 10 March: HECHINGEN, D @ Villa Eugenia, 1900

Fri, 13 March: SALZBURG, A @ Jazzit, 2000

Sat, 14 March: SCHIO, I @ Centro Stabile della Cultura

the tiptons and saxofour

One of the best experiences we shared this past tour was the magic of collaborating with the formidable ‘Saxofour’ an all male saxophone quartet from Austria. We played new compositions an octet plus drums. Here the concert from Porgy and Bess in Vienna Austria. (March 18, 2019)

European Tour ~ MARCH 2019!

We are delighted to return to Europe in March, 2019 to conquer the Austro-Hungarian Empire with our delightful music & on-stage verve with drummer Robert Kainar!

We will be collaborating with the wonderful sax ensemble SAXOFOUR for many of the concerts!  Please check our calendar page for details.

Of special note is our concert on the ship TRIP in Budapest Hungary for a triple bill with Szakértők Zenekar (The Artisans).

This concert is sponsored in part by Osztrák Kulturális Fórum.

osztrak negativ

New videos!

Thanks to everyone for helping us enjoy a beautiful European tour in February and March, 2018.  Though the temperature never got above freezing, and we encountered a lot of snow, we also encountered wonderful warm people everywhere!  We played 18 concerts in Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Switzerland in 21 days!

Here we are, playing Sue Orfield’s composition Brass Monkey at a concert produced by Fano Jazz, in the beautiful Teatro della Concordia in San Costanzo, Italy:


And here is Jessica’s beautiful composition Shop of Wild Dreams, performed at Rossstall in Lambach, Austria.  Filmed and edited by Eddi W.E from Linz:


Sowiesound, Zipa! Music, Spoot Music and Red Cedar Music are proud to release the 14th audio recording by the Tiptons Sax Quartet!










The Tiptons’ 14th audio release COOKBOOK spans a wide range of genres and reaches to the deepest corners of our musical imaginations with saxophones, clarinet, voice, and drums. The Tiptons have taken ingredients from their boundless pantries and spice racks, using flavors inspired by music from New Orleans to Azerbaijan, mixed with tangos, hymns and rollicking sea shanties. You will be entertained by funky grooves and ironic recipes, dynamic improvisations and tasty compositions. Enjoy this aromatic feast for the ears!

Click here to stream and download on Bandcamp!

CD Baby will be distributing the CD starting next week; we’ll keep you posted!