JOE EVANS – Saxophonist, Record/Label Producer, Composer/Arranger, Author
“Renaissance Man” is a term often defined as someone who is “knowledgeable, educated or proficient in a wide range of fields. This is also a good description of saxophonist, entrepreneur Joe Evans.
As a Jazz musician, Evans played alto, tenor, baritone saxophones. Originally from Florida, he traveled the US and the world recording and/or playing with such Jazz legends as Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Jay McShann, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine and numerous others.
As an R&B Musician he toured with traveling revues like “The Biggest Show of Stars” and Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars which included popular names like Buddy Holly, Clyde McPhatter, the Coasters, Brooke Benton, Gene Chandler, and Fats Domino. He joined the Motown Revue and traveled with Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, the Temptations, The Miracles with Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder.
As a music executive Evans promoted artists and their music to radio stations and record labels, including Tangerine Records owned by Ray Charles. He established his own publishing company, record labels and “discovered” and groomed a group of young men who would become the phenomenally successful R&B group The Manhattans.
Always an avid reader, Evans returned to school to finish his high school degree in 1973; and won a Ford Scholarship to attend Rutgers University, School of Education. In 1975 he received his Masters in Education and taught in a New Jersey community college. In 2007 at the age of 90 he co-wrote with Christopher Brooks, his autobiography, Follow Your Heart, a vivid depiction of the music industry from the viewpoint of the performer and the businessman. Evans currently lives in Richmond, VA.