and His Big Band
During the golden era of late-night television, Johnny Carson was the king of comedy, Ed McMahon was the faithful sidekick, and Doc Severinsen was the flamboyantly dressed leader of the band. Carson and McMahon are gone, but Severinsen continues to entertain audiences across America with his incredible trumpeting and swinging big band. Thanks to plenty of time in the practice studio, Severinsen still blows a mean horn and hits all the high notes. But he also surrounds himself with choice musicians with whom he’s more than happy to share the spotlight. The band’s repertoire includes Duke Ellington and Count Basie standards, other big band classics, pop, jazz, ballads, and, of course, The Tonight Show theme song. Severinsen, who has more than thirty albums to his credit, learned to swing firsthand from the icons of the big band era. In the late 1940s, after service in the army at the end of World War II, he toured first with Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra and then Benny Goodman’s big band. In 1949 he became an NBC staff musician. By 1962 he was in the first trumpet chair of The Tonight Show Band. Five years later Severinsen became the band’s music director, a position he held for a quarter century.