Tonight Show Band


Tonight Show Band

on American television. During the Carson era, the band was always billed as "The NBC Orchestra" and sometimes "Doc Severinsen and the NBC Orchestra."

The band was founded in 1954, and its first long-term director was Skitch Henderson (1954-57). Henderson was replaced by Jose Melis in 1957, when Jack Paar took over as host from Steve Allen. Henderson returned in 1962 when Johnny Carson took over from Paar. Carson increased the band budget, and Henderson created a major jazz big band by hiring some of the best jazz musicians from the touring big bands which were going out of business at the time, and by commissioning charts from top jazz arrangers. The new band included Clark Terry, Bobby Rosengarden, Doc Severinsen, Urbie Green, Ed Shaughnessy, and Ernie Royal, among others.

In 1966, Henderson left the show and was replaced by Milton DeLugg, who in 1967 was replaced by Severinsen. Severinsen continued to add important musicians to the band, including Louie Bellson, Allen Vizzutti, and Snooky Young. The show's move from New York to California effected a significant change in the band's personnel.

In 1992, when Jay Leno replaced Carson, Branford Marsalis took over as musical director, and a new smaller band was formed. Marsalis was succeeded in 1995 by Kevin Eubanks.

Current band members

*Leader/Guitar: Kevin Eubanks (May 25, 1992)
*Saxophone: Ralph Moore (January 30, 1995) (previously Branford Marsalis)
*Trumpet: Kye Palmer (April 10, 2006) (previously Lee Thornburg and Chuck Findley)
*Trombone: Matt Finders (May 25, 1992)
*Keyboard: Gerry Etkins (August 1995) (previously Kenny Kirkland)
*Bass: Stanley Sargeant (February 2002) (previously Bob Hurst)
*Drums: Marvin "Smitty" Smith (January 30, 1995) (previously Jeff "Tain" Watts)
*Percussion: Vicki Randle (May 25, 1992)

Former band members

*Trumpet: Conte Candoli (1968-1992), Clark Terry, Snooky Young (1967-1992), Maurey Harris
*Trumpet/Flugelhorn/Bandleader: Doc Severinsen
*Trumpet/Flugelhorn: John Audino, Allen Vizzutti
*Trombone: Gilbert Falco, Bruce Paulson
*Bass Trombone: Ernie Tack
*Alto Sax/Clarinet/Flute: John Bambridge
*Alto Sax/Arranger/Assistant Bandleader: Tommy Newsom (1962-1992)
*Tenor Sax/Flute/Clarinet: Pete Christlieb, Bill Perkins, Ernie Watts
*Tenor Sax/Bandleader: Branford Marsalis
*Baritone Sax/Bass Sax/Flute/Euphonium: Don Ashworth
*Guitar: Bob Bain, Peter Woodford, Tony Mottola
*Piano: Ross Tompkins
*Bass: Joel DiBartolo
*Drums: Jack Sperling (1962), Shelly Manne (1963), Ed Shaughnessy, Louie Bellson

Additional former members of the New York Tonight Show Band from 1962 on (not including those already mentioned) included:
*Trumpets: Bob McCoy, John Frosk, Dick Perry, Jimmy Maxwell, Joe Ferrante, Yank Lawson, Mel Davis, Bernie Glo, Carl Poole
*Trombones: Sy Berger, Will Bradley, Buddy Morrow, Bob Alexander, Sonny Russo, Willie Dennis, Herb Wise, Paul Faulise, Dick Lieb
*Saxophones: Walt Levinsky, Hymie Schertzer, Sid Cooper, Paul Ricci, Dean Kincaid, Arnie Lawrence, Harold Feldman, Al Klink, Al Howard, Wally Kane, Bobby Tricarico, Lew Tabackin
*Piano: Derek Smith
*Guitar: Bucky Pizzarelli, Gene Bertoncini
*Bass: Eddy Safranski, Bob Haggart, Julie Ruggiero, Bill Takis
*Drums: Grady Tate


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