On June 14, legendary trumpet player and former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen performed with jazz trumpeter Byron Stripling, vocalist Vanessa Thomas and the acclaimed Elmhurst College Jazz Band at Elmhurst College’s June Jazz: A Summer Extravaganza.
Thousands of people of all ages crowded the Elmhurst College Mall with lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to enjoy an evening of jazz songs such as “Every Day I Have the Blues” and “St. James Infirmary.”
Severinsen made an unforgettable entrance, wearing neon-green slacks, a bright purple shirt and a blue, purple and green paisley jacket to tie it all together. He boasted that his outfit made him the envy of the ladies in the crowd.
From 1962 to 1992, Doc Severinsen led the NBC Orchestra on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, making it the most visible big band in America. Since the final telecast, Severinsen has continued to perform. He now tours regularly with guitarist Gil Gutierrez in a quintet called The San Miguel Five, performing a mix of Latin and Gypsy jazz and standards. The group released its most current CD, Oblivion, in January 2014.
DownBeat magazine, the nation’s leading jazz publication, recently named the Elmhurst College Jazz Band the 2014 Student Music Award winner in the Large Jazz Ensemble category for undergraduate institutions. Under the direction of Grammy Award winner Doug Beach, the internationally acclaimed Elmhurst College Jazz Band has performed around the world and has appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival and many others.
The event was sponsored in part by BMO Harris Bank.