Michael Steinman shares some vivid photos and revealing, funny as #@%$ anecdotes about tenor saxophonist Herschel Evans on his blog. Chances are if you’ve found my blog then you already know about Michael’s, but if you don’t, get thee to the Favorites bar!
It was also interesting to read that string bassist Walter Page chose to play sousaphone i.e. brass bass for certain numbers. Also fascinating is Evans’s apparent disdain for the instrument. It means that the Texan saxophonist must have been hearing other options in the rhythm section before his time with Basie, so much so that he developed a preference for one bass instrument over the other. Meanwhile Page himself, who pretty much did for string bass what Cervantes did for the novel and Haydn accomplished for the symphony, sought different textures in the bass chair. In other words, no bass instrument seemed to be an inevitability in prewar jazz!
A newly discovered photograph, circa 1937, of Freddie Green and Herschel Evans, thanks to Christopher Tyle from here.
Herschel “Tex” Evans, born in Denton, Texas, did not live to see his thirtieth birthday. We are fortunate that he was a member of the very popular Count Basie band of 1937-39, thus there are Decca studio recordings and airshots, and that John Hammond set up many small-band record dates for Basie sidemen. One can easily hear Herschel’s features with the band — BLUE AND SENTIMENTAL and DOGGIN’ AROUND — but some of the small-group recordings are not as often heard. A sample below.
Here he is with a Harry James small group (among others, Vernon Brown, Jess Stacy, Walter Page, Jo Jones) for ONE O’CLOCK JUMP:
Mildred Bailey with Buck Clayton, Edmond Hall, Jimmy Sherman, Freddie Green, Walter Page, Jo Jones, IF YOU EVER SHOULD LEAVE:
from the same session…
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