Herschel Evans

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Ray Bauduc , Herschel Evans, Bob Haggart , Eddie Miller , Lester Young , Matty Matlock , Howard Theater, Washington DC.
Photography by William P. Gottlieb .

Herschel Evans (* 9. March 1909 in Denton , Texas ; † 9. February 1939 in New York City ) was an American jazz - tenor saxophonist of Swing . He became known for playing in the Count Basie Orchestra from 1936 to 1939. He died of heart disease at the age of 29.

life and work

Herschel Evans was born in Texas , but spent most of his childhood in the Kansas City area , where his cousin worked, trombonist and guitarist Eddie Durham . This persuaded him to switch from alto to tenor saxophone. Evans made his first fame playing jam sessions in the Jazz District between Twelfth and Eighteenth Streets of Kansas City. In the 1920s he temporarily returned to Texas and played in the Troy Floyd Orchestra in San Antonio in 1928/29 . In this band he stayed until 1932. In 1934 he played with Coleman Hawkins ; for a while he performed in Los Angeles with Lionel Hampton and Buck Clayton .

In the mid-1930s he returned to Kansas City; from 1936 until his death he played in the Count Basie Orchestra . It was during these years that Herschel Evans' fame reached its peak: He fought musical duels with his band and tenor colleague Lester Young , which became jazz classics. One O'Clock Jump shows off the contrasting styles of Evans and Young. His impulsive style of play, influenced by Coleman Hawkins , was in contrast to the rather relaxed game of Lester Young. After developing the typical Hawkins style with short and simple phrases that were blown with great force and vehemence, Herschel Evans became very important for later tenorists such as Don Byas , Buddy Tate (who replaced him with Basie), Illinois Jacquet and Arnett Cobb .

Herschel Evans arranged Count Basies Texas Shuffle and Doggin 'Around (1938) and can be heard as the clarinetist in Jumpin' at the Woodside (1938). Some of his best solos can be found in Basies The Glory Of Love, One O 'Clock Jump , John's Idea and Smarty (1937) Gerorgianna, Send For You Yesterday, Swinging The Blues, Doggin' Around, Texas Shuffle and Blue And Sentimental (1938) . Then there are Lionel Hampton's Shoe Shiner's Drag and Muskret Ramble and Harry James ' One A Clock Jump and Life Goes To A Party (1938). There are also recordings with Troy Floyd (1929), Mildred Bailey and Teddy Wilson .


as a sideman

  • Hot Lips Page : Pagin 'Mr. Page: His Greatest Recordings 1932–1946 (ASV)
  • Richard M. Jones: 1927–1944 (Classics)
  • Count Basie: The Original American Decca Recordings (MCA GRP 36112) 1937-1939
  • Lester Young: Lester Amadeus (Phontastic, 1936–1938)
  • Count Basie: 1936-1938 ; 1938–1939 (Classics)
  • Teddy Wilson: 1938 (Classics)
  • Harry James: 1937–1939 (Classics)
  • Lionel Hampton: 1938–1939 (Classics)
  • Billie Holiday : The Quintessential (Columbia, 1938)



  1. He is listed in some reference works as "Hershel Evans"