George Evans (bandleader)

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George Evans, born London, died 16 February 1993, was an English jazz bandleader, arranger and tenor saxophonist.

Early life and career[edit]

Having started playing ukelele-banjo, he moved on to the saxophone at 14, and was doing local gigs at age 15. He got his first professional job in Sonny Winter's Band at 16, before going on to join Al Lever's band.

In the early 1930s he was doing arrangements for Freddie Bretherton's Band as well as Syd Lipton’s band.

In 1938, together with fellow saxophonist Harry Hayes he joined Geraldo and between 1938 and 1942 was arranging, singing and playing tenor for the orchestra. He was the composer of Geraldo’s signature tune "Hello Again".

From 1940-46, he was a member of the Welsh Guards Band, although like many servicemen at the time, he carried on playing with civilian bands as well as appearing on broadcasts with George Melachrino’s combined Forces Orchestra.

One of his bands at around that time, Saxes 'n’ Sevens, was made up of three altos, four tenors, and four musicians in the rhythm section, including leading saxophonists of the day: Hayes, Les Gilbert and Tommy Bradbury, on altos; himself, Jimmy Durrant, Poggy Pogson, Tommy Bradbury, Andy McDevitt, Norman Maloney, and Aubrey Frank on tenors. Later lineups would also include Pete King. The rhythm section consisted of, at various times, Joe Deniz on guitar, Wilkie Davidson on bass, Bobby Midgeley or Kenny Clare on drums and George Shearing or Ronnie Selby on piano.

Shortly after leaving the Welsh Guards Evans was admitted to a sanatorium with T.B. and his brother, Les took the band on tour.

Newcastle Days[edit]

George with the Arthur Mowatt Band - seated far left, tenor sax in 1984

Retiring in 1957, he returned to playing with local Newcastle bands and school youth orchestras in 1980. During this time George founded "The George Evans Young Peoples Swing Band" who rehearsed every Sunday morning at the Peoples' Theater in Newcastle. The band rehearsed popular swing tunes like "Night and Day", "Blue Moon" & "The Grasshopper's Dance". The arrangements were meticulous in detail & voicing & quickly became very popular with the band. George also played regularly on a Friday evening with the Arthur Mowatt band at the Corner House. Moonlight In Vermont on YouTube

Role Call[edit]

Other leading UK musicians who at one time were members of Evans’ bands include Jimmy Staples, Don Rendell, Charles Chapman, Tony Symes, Jackie Sprague, Bill Geldard, Jock Cummings, Jack Parnell, Pat Dodd, Jack Llewellyn, Kenny Baker, Billy Riddick, Cliff Haines, Izzy Duman, Bill Apps, Eric Jupp, Malcolm Mitchell, Don Raine, Dougie Cooper, Arthur Greenslade, Ricky Derges, Ted Hunt, Bill Jackson, Graham Smith, Frank Pritchard, Hank Shaw, and Denis Shirley, Charlie Payne, Frank Rogers, Roy Ringrose, Freddie Syer, Ronnie Chandler, Erik Maxwell, Dennis Hughes, Syd Dowel, Kenny Kaye, Jimmy Paul and Shirley Gray on vocals.

Newcastle days: Arthur Mowatt, Ray Chester, Don Fairly, Eddy Shearer, Ray Harley, Gordon Marshall, David Barnes, .. and many more. Please add to the alumni.

References[edit]

Jazz Professional