Born: March 9, 1909 | Died: February 9, 1939 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Herschel Tex Evans was an American tenor saxophonist who worked in the Count Basie Orchestra. He had also worked with Lionel Hampton and Buck Clayton. He is also known for starting his cousin Joe McQueen's interest in the saxophone. Life and career
Evans was born in Denton, Texas, United States, but spent some of his childhood in Kansas City, Kansas, where his cousin Eddie Durham was a trombonist and guitarist. Durham persuaded him to switch from alto to tenor saxophone, the instrument that ultimately established Evans's reputation. After perfecting his craft in the jam sessions held in the jazz district between Twelfth and Eighteenth streets in Kansas City, Evans returned to Texas in the 1920s and joined the Troy Floyd orchestra in San Antonio in 1929. He stayed with the band until it dispersed in 1932. Evans performed for a time with Lionel Hampton and Buck Clayton in Los Angeles, and in the mid-1930s returned to Kansas City to become a featured soloist in Count Basie's big band.
For the next three years Evans's reputation as a tenor saxophonist was at its peak. His musical duels with fellow band member Lester Young are considered jazz classics.[by whom?] Count Basie's One O'Clock Jump featured the contrasting styles of the two musicians and brought to each the praise of both critics and the general public. Evans's greatest single success was his featured solo on Basie's hit Blue and Sentimental.
Evans also made records with such notable jazz figures as Harry James, Teddy Wilson, and Lionel Hampton. Evans has been credited with influencing fellow tenorists Buddy Tate, Illinois Jacquet, and Arnett Cobb.[by whom?] Although not a prolific composer, Evans wrote a number of popular works, including the hits Texas Shuffle and Doggin' Around.
On February 9, 1939, at the age of 29, he died of heart disease in New York City.