By People Staff
November 10, 1986 12:00 PM

Tonight Show Band

You’ve heard them play background music for guest singers and 10-second lead-ins to station breaks for 20 years. Now for the first time you can hear what the late-night-TV orchestra can do when it’s allowed to work up a full head of steam. Doc must have taken at least a month out of his clothes-shopping schedule to put together this labor of love. Everything about it is first-rate, from the selection and arrangement of tunes—Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton’s Flying Home, the Gershwins’ How Long Has This Been Going On, Basie’s One O’Clock Jump—to the pristine production quality. Producers Jeff Tyzik and Allen Vizzutti digitally recorded the 19-piece band live, capturing a spontaneous energy that can’t be duplicated with the typical all-purpose synthesizer and overdubbing. Then, too, most of the guys in the Tonight Show Band are among the most sought-after session players. Trumpeters Conti Candoli and Snooky Young exchange rapid fire solos with Severinsen in a rampaging King Porter Stomp, and at the end of this LP, Pete Christlieb and Ernie Watts wage a battle of the saxes on bandmate John Bambridge’s beboppish Sax Alley. When the cut screeches to a halt, the entire orchestra breaks into squeals and hoots that signify the effervescent mood of this release. “I love it!” Doc shouts. So will everyone who loves big-band music. (Amherst)