During the golden era of late-night TV, Johnny Carson was the king of comedy, Ed McMahon the faithful sidekick and Doc Severinsen the flamboyantly dressed leader of the band. Carson and McMahon are gone, but Severinsen continues to entertain audiences across America with his terrific trumpeting and swinging big band. Severinsen and His Big Band perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Penn State's Eisenhower Auditorium.
Thanks to plenty of time in the practice studio, Severinsen still blows a mean horn and hits all the high notes. But the 86-year-old 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.
Tickets are still available for the Oct. 22 Center for the Performing Arts presentation.
Watch a video of Severinsen performing on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Carl Severinsen, nicknamed "Little Doc" as a child because his father was a dentist, has more than 30 albums to his credit. He 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, the Oregon native toured first with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra and then Benn Goodman's big band.
In 1949, Severinsen became an NBC staff musician. By 1962, he was in the first trumpet chair of The Tonight Show Band. Five years later, he became the band's music director, a position he had for a quarter century.
Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring members of Severinsen's band, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the concert and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints often fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.