For 25 years, Doc Severinsen was arguably the best-known trumpet player in America, appearing on television every weeknight as the leader of the Tonight Show Orchestra. Known for his exceptionally loud wardrobe, Severinsen often bantered good-naturedly with host Johnny Carson, while supplying the show's incidental music (bridging commercial breaks, introducing guests, etc.). Despite the musical limitations of that format, the Tonight Show Orchestra was increasingly considered one of the best big-band jobs available as time passed: generous exposure, steady work, and declining options elsewhere. Severinsen maintained a side career to allow himself to stretch out, recording bop, big-band swing, and crossover-friendly instrumental pop for a series of labels beginning in the '60s. When The Tonight Show was on hiatus, he toured with smaller ...
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