Severinsen’s accomplishments began in his hometown of Arlington, Oregon, population: 600. Carl H Severinsen was born on July 7th, 1927, and was nicknamed “Little Doc” after his father, Dr. Carl Severinsen a dentist. Little Doc had originally wanted to play the trombone. But the senior Severinsen, a gifted amateur violinist, urged him to study the violin. The younger Severinsen insisted on the trombone, but had to settle for the only horn available in Arlington’s small music store — a trumpet. A week later, with the help of his father and a manual of instructions, the seven-year-old was so good that he was invited to join the high school band. At the age of twelve, Little Doc won the Music Educator’s National Contest and, while still in high school, was hired to go on the road with the famous Ted Fio Rito Orchestra.
However, his stay with the group was cut short by the draft. He served in the Army during World War II and following his discharge, landed a spot with the Charlie Barnett Band. When this band broke up, Severinsen toured with the Tommy Dorsey, then, the Benny Goodman bands in the late 40's.
After his days with Barnett and Dorsey, Doc arrived in New York City in 1949 to become a staff musician for NBC. After years of playing with the peacock network’s studio bands, Severinsen was invited to do a gig with the highly respected Tonight Show Band. An impressed conductor, Skitch Henderson, asked him to join that band in 1962 as first trumpet. Five years later, Doc took over as Music Director for The Tonight Show and stayed with the show until Johnny Carson retired from late night television in 1992.
Today, Doc has not lost his flair for outrageous fashions and witty banter. Yet, he is highly regarded as one of the most technically proficient trumpeters. Doc has the best stage presence of anyone out there. He can blow a horn like few others…he is a high note virtuoso, a genuinely funny man, and always a fashion fiend.
Somewhere along Doc’s journey from Oregon, to New York, to this evening’s concert, the “Little” was lost, but he remains ageless. Doc Severinsen continues to be a favorite of audiences across America.