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Trumpet Icon Doc Severinsen’s The Lost Tapes Vol. 1 and 2 Available Now

Trumpet Icon Doc Severinsen’s The Lost Tapes Vol. 1 and 2 Available Now

(July 17, 2019; Los Angeles, CA) Grammy® Award-winning musician, Doc Severinsen has been celebrated as America’s favorite trumpet player for more than half a century! Welcomed into living rooms for nearly three decades as the leader of The Tonight Show Orchestra, (with host Johnny Carson hailing him as ‘the greatest trumpet player in the world,’) his impeccable musicianship and charismatic presence still dazzles at 92 years old, with the iconic trumpeter performing his signature stylings of big band, pop, jazz, world, and classical standards, universally hailed as one of our national treasures.

But it’s Doc’s most recent musical rediscovery of ‘lost’ live gems that has revived one of the lesser known, but more touching chapters in the American Maestro’s storied career: The Lost Tapes Vol. 1 and 2, available now, are comprised of fully realized modern Trumpet concertos that Doc performed in the 1970’s and ‘80s with the Baytown & Plano, Texas High School Bands, written by accomplished band composers and specifically commissioned for Doc by noted Texas high school band leader and friend Charles Forque.

“It was just a fantastic, uplifting experience all the way around,” Doc says. “I remember going down there for the first time to begin the project in the late ‘70s and all these wonderful, enthusiastic kids were there to greet me at the airport. They were just a joy to work with, and so incredibly talented. I’m talking about the kind of talent comparable to any professional band working then or today. Texas took its high school band music very seriously back then, and Charles instilled in these kids a passion and love for music that I have seldom witnessed to this day.”
The album’s selections were culled from more than 40 soloist performances by Doc, supported by the Texas high school bands conducted by Forque. The Lost Tapes Vol. 1 and 2 consist of 6 concertos written by the noted band composers, spotlighting the inspired chemistry between Doc and these amazing young players and serving as a unique snapshot of Doc’s commitment to nurturing new generations of musicians throughout his Tonight Show career and beyond.
Forque commissioned Concertos to be specifically written for Doc’s unbridled virtuosity, which really meant the kids had to be able to hold their own. Included on the album are two Concertos composed by the acclaimed chief arranger/composer for the U.S. Air Force Band, Floyd Werle, “Concerto No. 3 For Trumpet And Band,” and “Concerto No. 4 For Trumpet And Band.”
Another stand-out work on the album is the jazz inflected jam “Bill,” written by noted jazz pianist Fred Crane, who also performed and recorded albums with Doc and other acclaimed musicians, including Al Hirt. The commemorative composition held a special place in Doc’s heart and all involved. “Freddy Crane was a wonderful guy and a musician’s musician,” says Doc. “If you mentioned his name to any jazz piano player when he was alive, they’d know his name. That one was specifically written for a young student named Bill Cunningham who was suffering from an incurable disease,” says Doc. “Billy was about 13 or 14 years old and his dad was the associate band director and it was written to honor him. He was still alive when we first played it, so we were very touched by the whole performance. He was a noble young man and much beloved by all of us.”
“Concerto For Trumpet And Band,” composed by gifted composer, teacher, and administrator John Barnes Chance, and a Concerto by the same name composed by University of Minnesota composer/conductor and Director Of Bands, Frank Bencriscutto add to the album’s bold repertoire. Czech born composer Vaclav Nelhybel’s “De Profundis,” completes the six-track offering and is passionately performed by Doc and the accompanying student players. “I’ll always be impressed by their dedication and discipline,” says Doc. “I’ll never forget, one day Charles says to me ‘Watch that girl that’s playing the snare drum. This was in a concert band of 50 to 70 people. She stood out, just a small girl probably about 13 years old. She was in middle school. Charles says, ‘Here’s the wild thing about her, she is completely deaf, can’t hear a note of what’s going on around her, yet she never makes a mistake.’ That never got out of my mind and that’s the kind of kids they were.”

Doc’s infectious playing, boundless energy and capacity for mentorship is never more evident than on the impassioned Lost Tapes, which were indeed destined to be lost forever if it weren’t for fellow trumpeter and longtime admirer, Vinnie DiMartino, who approached Doc about revisiting the material after the donated tapes had been set aside by the University of Kansas because of their seemingly irreparable state of decay. It was during a visit with DiMartino (an accomplished trumpeter and music scholar who was an artist in residence at Centre College, Danville Kentucky from 1993-2012) that Doc heard the tapes for the very first time.
“He’s a very good friend, so he just starts playing the tape for me no introduction, and I said “Uh, OK??, not realizing what it was or even who it was,” says Doc. “He says that’s ‘you,’ and I say ‘get out of here, I was never that good.’ And he says, ‘you were that day.’ Suddenly it all came back to me. Of course, I remembered all the wonderful trips down to Texas and meeting these wonderful kids, and Charles was a great friend and one of the finest musical educators I’ve ever encountered. What I didn’t know is that this had all been recorded and preserved, so that’s why I call it the ‘lost’ tapes because it was a shock to me that someone captured all of this great material and this wonderful experience live.” Because the tapes were in such disrepair a remarkable sonic restoration process was undertaken to painstakingly restore the integrity of the recordings. Doc is most excited that the exemplary performances of the young people has been faithfully brought to life after all these years.
Doc also credits the tight-knit Texas families that he visited through the years. Their support and belief in the value of music and its far-reaching contribution benefited the surrounding Texas communities at large. With music and art budgets often being the first programs cut in middle schools and high schools throughout the country today, the Baytown and Plano communities’ embrace of high school band music culture reverberates throughout the Lost Tapes. “Let me just give you a for instance – if anybody were to move into a medium sized town in Texas like Baytown and say ‘Why are we paying all this time and money for these kids to study band music. The budget and taxes are too high, why don’t we just get rid of it’ – you know what would happen? There’d be a truck outside your house in a half hour and you’d be on your way out of town. They never complained about paying your taxes for music – EVER! When you hear what these high school bands did year-in/year-out, they played on a level far beyond any college bands that play today. The compositions were meaningful, and we really loved what we were doing and we loved each other,” Doc says fondly. “We got to know each other real fast. I met their parents and went to cookouts at their homes. If I ran into any of those kids today, it would be hugs and kisses. It was a great experience.”

Under Grammy® Award-winning Doc Severinsen’s colorful direction, The Tonight Show Band became an American musical institution. His effortless demeanor as Johnny Carson’s joyous bandleader set the standard for late night musical perfection, the entire world delighting in the irresistible camaraderie between the legendary host and the man who Carson called ‘the best trumpet player in the world.’ Doc’s exuberant personality and outlandish outfits became a staple of late-night TV and a must-see attraction throughout his thousands of live performances ever since. Up until recently, the charismatic artist was logging more than 50 concert performances a year, a lifelong discipline the Oregon native learned fairly early in his career playing in the 1940s with big band legends including Charlie Barnet, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and others.
Doc’s recorded more than 30 albums during his incredible career, including 1986’s Grammy® win for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance Big Band, Johnny’s Theme (The Tonight Show Theme,) nominated six times throughout his recording career. Doc has performed with and conducted some of our country’s most noted symphony orchestras, including the Phoenix Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Milwaukee Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra. He retired from Principal Pops Conducting in 2007, but has continued as a Guest Conductor throughout the United States, including his most recent appearance conducting for the Hartford Symphony in 2018. Doc was named Pops Conductor Emeritus in Milwaukee and Pops Conductor Laureate in Minnesota.

CD 1
1. Concerto No. 3 for Trumpet and Band
I Mexicana
II Caribeaba
III Brasiliana

2. Concerto for Trumpet and Band
I Declamato, Vivo
II Caloroso
III Scherzando

3. Bill
CD 2
1. Concerto No. 4 for Trumpet and Band:
I Adagio assai
II Non Troppo lento
III Presto

2. Concerto for Trumpet and Band:
I Allegro Jubiloso
II Adagio
III Allegro Spirituose

3. De Profundis

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