Allan Evans is the author of Abnormally Abbey & Killer Blonde
Coming soon from Immortal Works Press
Writing about jazz: Memories of my Father, Doc Evans
I grew up in the house of music.
As a child, music surrounded me. Given the era, some may be surprised it wasn’t the Beatles or even the Rolling Stones. In our home, it was Bix, Louis and Yank. The music came a gigantic speaker that my father had set up in our downstairs music room. However, jazz wasn’t the only music that was played, we had Mozart, Bach and Brahms as well. My father could likely be found either at the baby grand piano or playing the cello, an instrument he taught himself to play. When your father is Doc Evans, it’s to be expected.
Doc Evans, as I’m sure most of you know, was a first rate cornet and trumpet player. He had started playing music as a child in southern Minnesota. As with many gifted musicians, he had the ability to pick up and learn a variety of instruments that included piano and drums. By the time he was playing in the Carleton College band, he was alternating between the cornet and saxophone. The sax soon fell by the wayside and he focused on the cornet, eventually making an international reputation as one of Dixieland’s premier artists.
Growing up, we had quite the musical family: my father on cornet, piano and cello; my mom playing the cello as well; and my older brother, Jeff, played the violin; I played the trumpet and my younger brother, Mark—as I often joked—played the radio. Actually, he played the trumpet for several years before quitting to focus on the theater. It wasn’t well known outside of the Minneapolis area, but my father had a love for classical music. He founded and conducted the Bloomington (Minnesota) Symphony Orchestra, which continues yet today. My mother and older brother both played with the orchestra.