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Doc Severinsen


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Carl Hilding “Doc” Severinsen (born July 7, 1927 in Arlington, Oregon) is an American pop and jazz trumpeter, best known for leading the NBC Orchestra in the Johnny Carson era.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Severinsen put out a number of albums of jazz standards, over which he performed very melodic solos. While not as much a “screamer” as Maynard Ferguson, Severinsen certainly had a well-developed high-note range, with an incredible amount of control and melodic sense. In the 1960s, Severinsen also recorded with the Clarke/Boland Big Band and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis band. Severinsen was also the second trumpeter whose recording of the fanfare “Abblasen,” composed by Gottfried Reiche, has been used as the theme for the CBS News program Sunday Morning.

During his years with the Tonight Show and afterwards, Severinsen released albums that had a pop-rock basis, some of which had electronic instrumentation components, such as “Brass Roots”, “Good Medicine” and “Facets”. These albums had varying degrees of acceptance by the public.

Although he has worked with jazz artists, most of his own recordings as a leader have consisted mainly of pop music. Several recent recordings feature him playing classical trumpet repertoire.

Severinsen was the principal pops conductor for several American orchestras during and after his tenure on the Tonight Show. His first was with the Phoenix Symphony in 1983. He held similar positions with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra.

He retired from active conducting in 2007, and was named Pops Conductor Emeritus in Milwaukee and Pops Conductor Laureate in Minnesota.


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  • nickellodeon

    When is any of his Command stuff going to see laserlight?

    3 Feb 2010 Reply
  • PappaWheelie

    1959's Doc Severinsen and Friends is a realy good '50s midsize Cool album!

    30 Dec 2009 Reply

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