King Crimson ala Doc Severinsen

In the Court of the Tonight Show

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Those of you old enough to remember the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson will recall his trumpet-playing and fashion-challenged band-leader and court jester, Doc Severinsen. Doc became kind of a joke on the show, but, he came from serious jazz background and played with the Clarke/Boland Big Band and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band among others. Doc played every kind of music, but until now, I never knew he had Progressive Rock leanings as well. You can hear it on this song where he does a big band arrangement of King Crimson’s epic, “In the Court of the Crimson King.”

Conventional wisdom might lead you to expect something cheesy, but Severinsen creates a colorful, swinging arrangement and he takes some inventive solos.  And check out the electric-Miles Davis-like bridge in the middle. No actual video, just the music.

UPDATE: For those interested, the song is apparently from an album called Doc Severinen’s Closet and was arranged by Don Sebesky which explains the CTI sound in some sections.

Thanks to Gino Wong for the pointer although his subject line, “the true original verion of itcock” almost made me junk it in the porno spam box.

(itcock = In the Court of the Crimson King duh!)

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))


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5 Responses to “King Crimson ala Doc Severinsen”

  1. Douglas Solomon Says:

    Thanks, John.

    This Doc Severinsen piece is a pure joy. without your review, I very likely would never have heard it. (I claim the same for Robert Fripp accompanying his Mrs., a-doing “These Boots Are Made for Walking” — which is also much fun.)

  2. Dgold Says:

    Did you know, Outformation wrote a song, “Dark Severinsen”, a real jammer.

    You can hear it on the Live Music Archive, FWIW.

  3. Says:

    ITCock That would make someone send it to the spam/viagra/porn garbage pile. Who knew huh? I was wondering if this was an insider reference that everybody else knows, but we were the last to know Kinda like SXSW being called South By (only newbies call it the long name)

    In any case this is such an interesting find that I don’t think anybody would be believe you anyhow, even though the evidence is right there.

    Thanks John D for tuning in and turing on the big kids, who are still learning as we go, about “the music” and music history.

  4. Mike Kegel Says:

    I bought this album when it first came out, got rid of my wax, and searching for a digital version ever since!! As a high school trombonist, I had no idea how incredible the sidemen were; Rod Levitt’s solo mesmerized me…I transcribed it and memorized it! And Tommy Newsomes’s tenor solo—what a lyrical, powerful statement! Not every cut is a keeper, but Bottleneck, Surfer Girl,and the title cut are well worth it.
    Thanks for putting this up on the web…

  5. thomaso Says:

    Does anyone know where to get the sheet music for this arrangement? I have this on vinyl and have always loved this arrangement

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