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Doc Severinsen

Doc Severinsen, guest conductor and trumpet

“Heeeeere’s Johnny!” That lead-in, followed by a big band trumpet blast, was a landmark in late-night television. The ‘Johnny’ was Johnny Carson, the announcer was Ed McMahon, and the bandleader was Doc Severinsen. Beginning in October 1962, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson ruled the night air for 30 years.

Within a week of the final telecast, Doc Severinsen and his Big Band were on the road, performing Ellington and Basie standards, pop, jazz, ballads, big band classics, and, of course, The Tonight Show theme. Severinsen can still blow hard with his horn and hit the high notes; and as a bandleader, he continues to surround himself with the best in the business.

He performs with symphony orchestras all over the country and has been principal pops conductor with the Phoenix Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic. His last RPO appearance was in 2014 for Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik’s 20th anniversary concert celebration.

A Grammy Award winner, Severinsen has made more than 30 albums—from big band to jazz-fusion to classical. In 2006, Severinsen moved to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, ostensibly to retire from performance. Within weeks, he was jamming with the magnificent guitarist Gil Gutierrez, later releasing the CD El Ritmo de la Vida. Since moving back to the States, he tours extensively with Gutierrez in a quintet called The San Miguel Five, performing a mix of Latin and Gypsy jazz and standards to exceptional acclaim. They released their most current CD, Oblivion, in January 2014.

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