Doc Severinsen’s Highlights

Cite this article as:

International Journal of Music. (April 1, 2021). Doc Severinsen’s Highlights. International Journal of Music. Accessed July 13, 2024.

  • 1927: Born in Arlington, Oregon (USA). He received the nickname “Little Doc” from his father, the only dentist in Arlington. He liked the trombone, but the music store did not have any in stock, and he ended up playing the trumpet, soon beginning to win his first competitions.
  • 1941: As a curious anecdote, when he was only 14 years old, he auditioned to be part of Tommy Dorsey’s big band. Then they did not take him, but before finishing high school, he was already touring with Ted Fio Rito’s orchestra; and, after finishing it, he began to play with Charlie Barnet, Bennie Goodman, and, this time, with Dorsey himself.
  • 1949: NBC hires him as a member of the Tonight Starring Steve Allen band, where he became known as the soloist on the closing theme.
  • 1960: Release of his first solo album: A String of Trumpets (Everest), with guitarist Billy Mure. This one will be followed by an endless list of memorable recordings (more than 40, as a soloist).
  • 1962: He is called for the band of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, of which he would end up becoming the leader only five years later. Under his direction, the band achieved enormous popularity throughout the United States. Thanks to his charisma, his prominence was likewise on the rise, interacting with Carson himself and guests on the show and developing his peculiar style for three decades.
  • 1972: First Grammy nominations: one, for Best Pop Instrumental Performance by an Instrumental Performer, for his album Doc (RCA); another, for Best Pop Instrumental Performance by an Arranger, Composer or Orchestra and/or Chorus Leader, for his album Brass on Ivory (RCA), with Henri Mancini.
  • 1983: First time he appears as conductor of a symphony orchestra, conducting a pop music program: with the Phoenix Symphony. After this, others will follow, such as those of Oregon, Buffalo, Colorado, Philadelphia, Seattle, Spokane, Minnesota, or Milwaukee, and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.
  • 1986: Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance in the Big Band category for his album The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen (Amherst). Within the same album, the song Johnny’s Theme (The Tonight Show Theme) would also receive a nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in the category of Orchestra, Group, or Soloist.
  • 1987: Grammy nomination, again for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance in the Big Band category, for his album The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen, Vol. II (Amherst).
  • 1991: Grammy nomination again, for Best Jazz Large Ensemble Performance, for his album Once More With Feeling (Amherst).

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