The Tonight Show Band: Doc Severinsen (leader, trumpet, flugelhorn); Tommy Newsom, Bill Perkins, John Bambridge (alto saxophone, flute, clarinet); Pete Christlieb, Ernie Watts (tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet), Don Ashworth (baritone saxophone, flute, clarinet); John Audino, Snooky Young, Conte Candoli, Maurey Harris (trumpet, flugelhorn); Gil Falco, Bruce Paulson (trombones); Ernie Tack (bass trombone); Ross Tompkins (piano); Peter Woodford, Bob Bain (guitar); Joel Dibartolo (bass); Ed Shaughnessy (drums).
Recorded at Conway Recording Studios, Hollywood, California.
Personnel: Doc Severinsen (trumpet, flugelhorn); Peter Woodford, Bob Bain (guitar); John Bainbridge, John Bambridge, Tommy Newsom, Bill Perkins (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone); Ernie Watts, Pete Christlieb (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Donald Ashworth (flute, clarinet, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone, euphonium); Conte Candoli, Maurice Harris, Maurey Harris, Allen Vizzutti , Snooky Young, John Audino (trumpet, flugelhorn); Gilbert Falco, Bruce Paulson (trombone); Ernie Tack (bass trombone); Ross Tompkins (piano); Ed Shaughnessy (drums, snare drum).
Arrangers: Dick Lieb; Mike Barone; John Bambridge; Tommy Newsom; Bill Holman.
The Tonight Show Band gained fame during Johnny Carson's tenure as host of the perennially popular late-night TV program. Not only did the band gain air time with its playing, but it was a foil for Carson's jokes. The role of collective straight man did not in any way hinder the ensemble from being an exciting champion of dynamic big-band swing. The chairs are filled with veterans of topflight big bands and studio work as well. Performers like John Audino, Bill Perkins, Gil Falco, and Conte Candoli anchor the band's sections while Ed Shaughnessy's relentless drums drive the outfit. And they are playing well-conceived charts by such arrangers as Bill Holman, Tommy Newsom, and Dick Lieb. Most of the tunes on this session are familiar big-band barnburners and feature the high-voltage trumpet of leader Doc Severinsen. While others get a few bars of soloing now and then, it's Severinsen's show all the way. There is a break in the fast-paced stuff with a lovely rendition "How Long Has This Been Going On" with romantic Harry James-like blowing (vibrato and all) by Severinsen. But it's the heart-stoppers like "One O'Clock Jump" and "Begin the Beguine" that dominate this session. All in all, this album captures disciplined, well-charted big-band music, and is recommended. ~ Dave Nathan