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Were Doc's solos all written out?



 
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:26 pm    Post subject: Were Doc's solos all written out? Reply with quote

Is it likely Doc's intricate solo part on this was written out? An incredible feat of reading on Doc's part if it was.

Anyone know?

If you want to skip the banter the tune starts at about 2:20.


Link

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trpthawaii
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, that's classic Doc improvising. That's a spontaneously improvised solo, live in front of 15 million people. No pressure at all.
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Comeback
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the link, Robert P!

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oxleyk
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering he had been playing professionally for nearly 30 years at that point...it's not surprising.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trpthawaii wrote:
No, that's classic Doc improvising. That's a spontaneously improvised solo, live in front of 15 million people. No pressure at all.

Made me curious - either way it's amazing but I have a hard time envisioning someone actually writing something like this out and I don't imagine they spent much time working on the charts they played on the show - maybe read it down once at rehearsal?

Kind of sounds like Don Ellis on steroids.
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peanuts56
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in the mid 70's I attended a summer workshop at Quinnipiac University. Arnie Lawrence was one of the clinicians. He played sax in the Tonight Show Band when it was in NYC.
Arnie told us that Doc's improvised solos were written out for him. He was not judging Doc or being critical but stating a fact.
I had a conversation with a very well known trumpeter/teacher about 7-8 years ago and we talked about this. He told me he had heard the same thing. He also pointed out that Doc had to be a beast to be able to play theses solos whether they were written out or not.
I have heard Doc with his current group The San Miguel Five. I felt that while Doc may have lost a step or two regarding range, his solos were much more passionate.
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Arranger-Transcriber
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm. Never heard anything about Doc Severinsen's solos being written out. I have several unpublished charts right out of the Tonight Show Band's book and have never seen one with a written jazz solo for Doc.
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amzi
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the late 60s the solos Doc played were written out, but that didn't mean he couldn't improvise. At the end of a concert the crowd simply would not let him go, so we pulled a chart of our "our" book (at the time he was playing with local big bands backing him up playing his charts that we got in advance) and started playing and he took off. No written changes or anything, he took off--we all thought it was the best solo of the night.
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rothman
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whether we wrote them in advance, I thought he steadily improved with improv once the 70's ushered rock grooves into the book. As Tonight show or records of jazz-rock got featured, he often emulated Freddie Hubbard beautifully within a solo, then adding various catch phrases to the mix.

Some of these phrases have aged less well than others...for ex., by emphasizing down home licks, several x's in the clip. The phrases themselves originate from a blues lexicon, but instead of a down home feel...a polished 'aristocratic' air is present, like escargot eaten in a five star restaurant.


Last edited by rothman on Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JoseLindE4
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too can confirm this rumor. I can't confirm that it's true, but I've heard the same thing. I don't remember where I heard it though.

Honestly, with what Doc did, I'm not sure why it matters.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno. Of course all jazz is "rehearsed" to some extent, jazzers work on licks. I know I've heard various versions of the same chart where Doc's solos are different.
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Tony Scodwell
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:18 am    Post subject: Doc improvising Reply with quote

Having been his road manager with the responsibility of being in charge of the library one of my duties, I will say that in the case of this piece Doc was definitely improvising. He could "wing" it and play some incredible jazz. It didn't seem to matter the style either. That said, his parts on the classic Tommy Newsom charts he recorded did indeed have the solos basically written out which Doc would embellish over time but pretty much stay to what was on the page. Arrangements like "Georgia", "Sing Sing Sing", "Stardust" that he recorded were pretty much the same each time they were performed. Another tid-bit, the hours prior to the gig warming up in a stairwell, I would hear Doc playing through passages that were on the upcoming program that night with him tapping his foot in the tempo to be performed and playing everything with full duration exactly as it would be later on. Nothing was left to chance. He really didn't want anything to be less than flawless.

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cheiden
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Doc improvising Reply with quote

Tony Scodwell wrote:
Another tid-bit, the hours prior to the gig warming up in a stairwell, I would hear Doc playing through passages that were on the upcoming program that night with him tapping his foot in the tempo to be performed and playing everything with full duration exactly as it would be later on. Nothing was left to chance. He really didn't want anything to be less than flawless.

Tony, thanks so much for the insight.

I was early to a performance at UCLA where Doc was going to perform with Jens Lindemann and a brass ensemble. I was walking the halls and just happened upon Doc who was on his way to warm-up. I gave a nod and uttered some clumsy salutation. Doc nodded and quipped back then disappeared into his chosen stairwell. My brush with greatness.
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