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Severinsen Sizzles at Schermerhorn, Feb. 2 – 4

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SeverinsenNashville Symphony’s Bank of America Pops Series: Doc Severinsen
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
1 Symphony Place, Nashville
687-6400 • nashvillesymphony.org
Remaining show times: Fri – Sat 8 p.m.
Tickets: $44 – $129

A splendid delight takes place on the Schermerhorn Symphony Center’s stage this week as the legendary Doc Severinsen fills in for Marvin Hamlisch, who was on tap for this pops series installment but had to cancel due to illness.

The first half of the show features the Nashville Symphony led by the ever-animated Albert-George Schram, kicking things off with a rousing performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide Overture,” setting the tone for the Americana half of the night.

The Alison Brown Quartet joins the orchestra for a few instrumental numbers, including “Under the Five Wire,” “The Wonerful Sea Voyage of Holy St. Brendan,”  and “Drawing Down the Moon.” Touted as an internationally recognized banjoist (and she is a Grammy winner who toured with Alison Krauss and Union Station), Brown’s song selection is a tad disappointing. Granted, the tunes are nicely done, but Brown’s playing is subdued and oftentimes muted by the orchestra’s strings. It would have been nice for Brown to select one number where she could really show off her banjo-playing prowess.

Post intermission, the stage livens up with great flair when trumpet-playing legend Doc Severinsen comes out sporting flashy orange pants (homage to the UT Vols; he lives in Knoxville) with a sparkling jacket. Best known for being the bandleader on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1967 – 1992, the 84-year-old shows no signs of slowing down, whether he’s conducting the orchestra or powerfully raising the roof blowing his horn.

Severinsen’s latest project, The San Miguel Five, is the centerpiece of the second act. Featuring guitar virtuoso Gil Gutierrez, the band rocks the concert hall with an hour of Latin-jazz numbers that showcase some of the most amazing musical talent ever seen on stage. Sitting in with The San Miguel Five is Nashville violin sensation Billy Contreras, who plays with such passion and intensity it garnered him a kiss on the forehead from Severinsen.

This great evening of music is wonderful for all ages, and what a treat to see a true legend like Doc Severinsen still going strong!

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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