News: Grammy Award winner calls Airmen of Note “remarkable”; Vocalist states performance “like a dream come true”
Story by Joseph P Cirone
By: Joseph P. Cirone
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Public Affairs
WASHINGTON - A Grammy Award winner called the U.S. Air Force Band’s Airmen of Note “remarkable” after playing with them at a concert Nov. 18 in the nation’s capital.
The energetic award-winning trumpeter and former Tonight Show band leader Doc Severinsen made a guest appearance with the Airmen of Note Jazz ensemble, affectionately called, “the Note.”
Severinsen’s appearance in front of a standing room only crowd of more than 2,300 people in George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, closed out the Note’s 2011 Jazz Heritage series of concerts, which also featured vocal sensation Carmen Bradford and 2011 Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum.
John Edward Hasse, curator of American Music at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History said, “The place was jammed with an audience from age two to 90, they absolutely loved it.”
“They’re beyond good. I have nothing but appreciation for what they do; I always have,” Severinsen said of the Note. Severinsen’s enthusiasm and high energy level showed while he conducted the band for a moving jazz piece.
“I’ve stood in front of and have heard a lot of the good bands, like [Duke] Ellington, [Count] Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman – I played with quite a few of them. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any better ensemble playing, they’re just really remarkable,” he said.
Severinsen received a Grammy Award for "Best Jazz Instrumental Performance - Big Band" in the 1980s, while still leading the band on the Tonight Show, hosted by Johnny Carson.
Dick Golden, host of SiriusXM radio’s weekly music program, American Jazz, and emcee of the Note’s Jazz Heritage series, said, “Johnny Carson just loved what Doc Severinsen was adding to the program. You’d see Carson with the pencil [moving with the music]; he was in love with that band.”
From retirement to busy person and snappy dresser
Before going to the Tonight Show, Severinsen worked in a finance department while serving in the U.S. Army.
“And you know what, we still won the war,” he laughed.
Severinsen has played the Air Force Band in the past. His first experience came soon after President John F Kennedy was assassinated in November, 1963, he said. “They provided some great experiences. And tonight, I’m just thrilled to be here.”
After 30 years with the Tonight Show, Severinsen said that in 1992, “I went to Mexico to retire and instead I found these guys playing in a band at a restaurant. I’ve been playing with them ever since.” In addition, now living in Tennessee, he has kept busy conducting symphony Pops orchestras and touring with big bands, he reported.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher D. Miller, the service’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, said, “We had a tremendous audience tonight. The Airmen of Note did a wonderful job and Doc Serverinsen’s talent complimented them beautifully. It was just a tremendous evening; a tremendous demonstration showing what teamwork can do with our Air Force Band and a guest artist.”
Col. Kenneth R. Rizer, commander of the Air Force’s 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews, Md., remarked, “I think everyone in the house tonight saw that Doc Serverinsen is truly a national icon. To have him performing with us is very, very memorable. We are just thrilled to have him.”
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Paige Martin, the Note’s featured vocalist and a member of the Air Force since 2003, said when she was growing up, while drifting off to sleep at night, she heard Doc Serverinsen and the band playing on The Tonight Show. “To get the opportunity to play music with him is like a dream come true.”
Martin commented, “He is a great friend of the Note; just a super guy and snappy dresser to boot!”
“He’s just an amazing man, he’s an original,” Golden said.
Hasse said, “This band is one of the top big bands in the country and in the world. Its heritage goes back to World War II and Glen Miller. They honor him, the Air Force, the country, and the great jazz composers and performers.”
“The audiences are just building and building; show after show,” Golden stated. “They are not only virtuosos, they are among the kindest, most thoughtful people,” he added.
“I’m proud the Air Force and country have this band. They are the top of their field,” Hasse stated.
The Note’s manger, Chief Master Sgt. Dudley Hinote, told a TV news crew covering the concert, “The excellence demonstrated by the musicians on stage is a reflection of the excellence carried out daily by airmen stationed around the world. Their selfless service and sacrifices ensure the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.”
“I think it is a great service that the Airmen of Note and the Air Force present these concerts free of charge, allowing people of all income levels and all ages, to come out and enjoy America’s music and jazz,” Hasse concluded.
Hinote explained, “Through the power of music, Airmen of the Air Force Band open doors in communities and help build and enhance joint and coalition partnerships, around the world.”
“God bless America,” Martin proudly exclaimed as she left the stage following the concert.
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