Cherico played drums as a child and played in a special services band in the Army, but injured his hand and picked up double bass as therapy. He attended the Berklee College of Music, where he met Toshiko Akiyoshi, with whom he would tour and record intermittently for many years. He also worked as a sideman with Herb Pomeroy (1957–59), Maynard Ferguson (1959–60), Red Norvo (1961), Benny Goodman (1962), George Shearing (1963), Stan Getz (1964–66), and Peter Nero (1966–70). He also recorded with Gary Burton and Joe Morello in 1961 and with Paul Desmond in 1961 and 1963.
Cherico spent much of the 1970s as a studio musician, working with Frank Strazzeri (1973, 1975), Louie Bellson, Lew Tabackin, Gerry Mulligan (1974), and Akiyoshi. He also did work as an accompanist to singers such as Peggy Lee (1966), Carmen McRae (1970), Frank Sinatra (1973), and Nancy Wilson. He toured extensively with Sinatra into the next decade. He retired in 1984 after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
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With Toshiko Akiyoshi
- Toshiko and Leon Sash at Newport (Verve, 1957)
- The Many Sides of Toshiko (Verve, 1957)
- Long Yellow Road (Asahi, 1961)
- The Toshiko – Mariano Quartet with Charlie Mariano (Candid, 1961)
- Live at Birdland (Fresh Sound, 1961)
- Toshiko – Mariano Quartet (in West Side) with Charlie Mariano (Takt, 1963)
- East and West with Charlie Mariano (Victor, 1963)
- Kogun (RCA, 1974) with the Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band
- Long Yellow Road (RCA, 1975) - Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band
- Dedications (Discomate, 1976)
- Notorious Tourist from the East (Inner City, 1978)
- Just Be Bop (Discomate, 1980)
- Toshiko Akiyoshi Trio (Toshiba, 1983)
With Gary Burton
- New Vibe Man in Town (RCA, 1961)
With Stan Getz
- Getz/Gilberto #2 (Verve, 1964)
With Frank Sinatra
- L.A. Is My Lady (Qwest, 1984)
- Rhyan/Kernfeld, "Gene Cherico". Grove Jazz online.
- NY Times obituary, 1994 August 17, (link). Accessed 2008 July 14.