Saturday night I was privileged to see Doc Severinsen perform in the finale of the 2015-2016 Jazz at Pinecrest Gardens series. Severinsen, 88 years young, displayed the outstanding musical talent that made him famous as the bandleader for Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show for almost 30 years.
Accompanying Severinsen was vocalist Vanessa Thomas, along with the New World School of the Arts High School Jazz Ensemble directed by Jim Gasier. Severinsen entertained the audience with numerous well-known classics from the Big Band era.
Equally impressive was that in preparation for this appearance, Severinsen arrived earlier in the week and spent several days rehearsing with the young band members. The rehearsals and the show itself accompanying a musical legend like Severinsen must have been a thrill for them. Throughout the two-hour show, each band member was recognized with solo performances.
Kudos to Severinsen, Thomas, Gasier and the outstanding young musicians, as well as to Pinecrest Gardens for supporting this venture. It was a memorable evening.
Doug Greist, Miami