After playing with the big bands led by Charlie Barnet, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman, trumpeter Doc Severinsen became a studio musician at one of the national television networks and was part of the band for Tonight Starring Steve Allen. In 1962, he joined the band on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson then led by Skitch Henderson.

Five years later, Severinsen was leading The Tonight Show band, a position he occupied until Carson ended his late-night run in 1992. I mention this because The Late Show turned Severinsen into a household name and something similar has been occurring with pianist Jon Batiste, the current leader of the Stay Human band on The Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert. As part of the noted musical Batiste family, the Juilliard trained Batiste was not in the shadows prior to his Tonight gig that started in 2015. He did, after all, perform at the Concertgeboux location in Amsterdam when he was 20.

But more recently, Batiste added to his television and film credits with 11 Grammy nominations – more than any other artist. The winner in those 11 categories will be part of the 64th Grammy show that will be broadcast on CBS on January 31. Along with his album of the year nomination for “We Are” and record of the year nomination for the song “Freedom.” Jon is also in the running for best traditional R&B performance, best R&B album, best jazz solo, best jazz instrumental album, best American roots performance, best American roots song, the best soundtrack for the visual media, best contemporary classical composition, and best music video. Such a truckload of “best” nominations definitely deserves, whatever one might think of the award itself, serious applause.

Closer to home, inventive vocalist Theo Bleckmann wraps up his second night at Dazzle with keyboardist Erik Deutsch and guest the Brooklyn-based Sly5thAve. (Sylvester Onyejiaka). Bleckmann is not only highly creative but also generally recognized as one of the top male vocalists on the jazz scene. Deutsch, of course, spent time in Denver prior to moving east and playing with Charlie Hunter.

Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dazzle goes big band with the H2 Big Band on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the CU Concert Jazz Ensemble on Wednesday doing Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Jazz Notes 12-2-2021
Norman Provizer

Pictures: top-bottom, Doc Severinsen, Jon Batiste, and the H2 Big Band (H2 Big Band performing at KUVO’s Live at the Vineyard signature fundraiser by Travis Broxton Photograpy)

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