Evans, Herschel, tenor saxophonist, clarinetist; b. Denton, Tex., 1909; d. N.Y., Feb. 9, 1939. He did early work in “T.N.T.” (Alphonse Trent’s Number Two) Band in Tex. (1926), then worked in The St. Louis Merrymakers (a Tex. band). He had brief spells with Edgar Battle, Terrence Holder, and with Sammy Holmes in Tex. before joining Troy Floyd’s Band in Tex. (1929). He left Troy Floyd in 1931, and had stints with Grant Moore’s Band, then worked with Benny Moten (February 1933–35), worked in Kansas City with Hot Lips Page’s Band, moved on to Chicago, played briefly in Dave Peyton’s Band (autumn 1935), then settled in Los Angeles. He played in Charlie Echols’s Band in Los Angeles, also worked with Lionel Hampton’s Band at the Paradise Cafe and with Buck Clayton’s Band in the Brownskin Revue. He joined Count Basie (with Buck Clayton) in autumn 1936 and remained with Basie until fatal illness. He had been unwell for some months and collapsed while working with Count Basie at the Crystal Ballroom in Hartford, Conn. He was admitted to the Wadsworth Hospital in N.Y. where he succumbed to a cardiac condition. Lester Young claimed in his last interview that “I was there when he died—paid his doctor bills and everything!” His burial took place in Los Angeles.
—John Chilton/Lewis Porter