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Doc Severinsen is best known as the bandleader and foil for Johnny Carson for over 25 years on the Tonight Show. Exotica fans know him, however, as a mainstay of numerous space-age pop recordings and one of the stars of Command Records. Severinsen began working in big bands in 1945, and stayed on the road with Charlie Barnet, Tommy Dorsey, Noro Morales, and others until 1952. He then joined the NBC television musical staff and soon was one of the members of Skitch Henderson's band on the original Steve Allen-hosted Tonight Show.
He took over the band in the late 1960s. On the show, his trademark was a series of the wildest outfits produced in the very wild heighdays of 70s polyester. He toured regularly even while on the show and continues to perform with community orchestras and jazz bands today. As a player, he is a master of the upper register, but usually displays a little more taste and less grandstanding than the other king of the high Cs, Maynard Ferguson.
His first Command albums were fairly tame big band stuff, but the "now sound" began insinuating itself into his music, and with the help of Dick Hyman's arrangements, his later Command albums are choice slices of pure 60s pop, coming in just behind Warren Kime's Brass Impact albums in my estimation.
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