David Evans began playing professionally in his native Alabama before he was old enough to drive to his gigs. A scholarship to Loyola University brought him to New Orleans in 1984, where he quickly became a busy commercial and jazz musician, performing with the likes of Pete Fountain, B. B. King, Mose Allison, Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade, Johnny Vidacovich, Luther Kent, Matt Lemmler, Johnny Mathis, Gladys Knight, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and many others.
From 1986 to 1994, David was musical director on the National Historic Landmark steamboat Delta Queen. In addition to performing with and managing his band, he was busy as a writer and arranger for musical shows. He also researched, created and presented special lecture/performances on different periods of American music for groups from The Smithsonian, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.