Telleferro Ervin, II (1930- 1970) was born in Denison, Texas. His
grandfather, the Rev. Colonel F. Ervin was the pastor of Antioch
Baptist Church, located at 700 W. Walker, as listed in the city
directories 1938 - 1951. Rev. Ervin (born between 1880 and
1884 - died 1962) and his wife Georgia (ca1887 - 1954) were born in
Nova Scotia, located off the eastern coast of Canada. They lived
for at least twenty years (1930 - 1950) at 1101 W. Elm, now a vacant
the 1930 census Rev. Ervin's occupation is listed as railroad laborer -
an air brake repairman for the Katy; he would have been between 66 and
70 years of age at the time. Both are buried at Fairview
His son and wife, Booker T. Ervin
(born ca1904) and Mabel (born ca1907) lived on W. Elm with the
elder Ervin according to the 1930 census; Booker Sr. was a dining car
steward. In 1938 and 1940 City Directories, Booker Jr. and his
parents are living at 311 W. Morton. According to the Anderson/Terrell website, Booker Jr. was a member of the 1946 Dragon football team.
Booker's father played the trombone with Buddy Tate and taught his son the instrument at an early age. He
taught himself to play the saxophone while in the United States ir
Force. He was stationed at Okinawa. After discharge, he moved to the Boston area and studied at
Berklee College of Music.
After his studies, he moved to
New York to join Horace Parlin's quartet. Parlin was a hard-hop
and post-bop piano player. For seven years (1956 - 1963) Evans
worked with Charles Mingus, who was a composer, and American jazz
double bassist, and band leader.
the 1960s Evans led his own quartet, which include himself on the
saxophone, Jacki Byard on the piano, Richard Davis playing the bass,
and Alan Dawson on the drums.
His debut album was The Book Cooks, recorded in 1960.
Other albums which he recorded are :
That's It!, 1961
Exhultation!, 1963 (re-issued in 1970)
|The Freedom Book, 1963||Gumbo, 1963|
The Song Book, 1964
|The Blues Book, 1964|
The Space Book, 1964
|Groovin' High, 1965|
The Trance, 1965
Setting the Pace, 1965
with saxophonist Dexter Gordon
Structurally Sound, 1966 (re-released on CD, 2001)
|Booker 'n Brass, 1967"||The In Between, 1968|
Tex Book Tenor, 1968
(released on CD, 2005)
T. Ervin II died in 1970 of kidney disease at the age of 39 in New York
City and is buried at Lone Island National Cemetery (Farmingdale,
Suffolk Co., New York).
Recorded at the "Berlin Jazz Festival"
27 May 1975
enough, Texas, chiefly noted for the export of smug tales and Lyndon
Johnson, has begun to flourish in recent years as an incubator of
fresh, exciting jazz talent. When trumpeter Kenny Dorham came to New
York almost two decades ago, he was somewhat of an anomaly, but for a
different reason. Other outstanding instrumentalists such as tenormen
James (The Twister) Clay and David (Fathead) Newman have come up to the
jazz big leagues from "down yonder."
has traveled a long, rough, lonesome and frustrating road from his
birthplace in Denison, Texas to growing acclaim in New York. At
Terrell High School in Denison, Texas, he became a member of the school
band, performing as a trombonist. In 1945, Booker enlisted in the Air
Force upon graduation from high school, where he borrowed a tenor sax
from the Service Club and began to teach himself the instrument.
the tour ended, he went home to Texas again and got a job, saving up
for a musical education. He put aside enough in 3 months to finance a
trip to Boston, where he entered Schillinger House, now known as the
Berklee School of Music, for a year of study. On his return, Booker
went out on the road with a rhythm & blues band led by Ernie Fields
which was working out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The band was one of those
rough and ready 10 piece, ultra-rhythmic aggregations so popular in the
dance halls of the South and Southwest.
says he learned a lot about swinging from playing with the band's
"back-beat" rhythm section. "The basic feeling, you could even say
primitive feeling of this band, with the drummer 'chopping wood' all
night long, gave you a big feeling of power; you wanted to just open up
and wail." Fields' group has been the launching pad for a number of
successful jazz careers, including among its alumni Benny Powell,
trombonist with Count Basie.
the Fields' band, Booker went to Dallas and gigged with James Clay for
several months in 1955. When work ran out, he set out for Portland,
Oregon on a Greyhound. Like the man who came to dinner, he stopped to
spend "just one night" with a buddy in Denver and stayed on 18 months.
Dividing his time between the study of drafting and sporadic club
dates, he tried several times to give up jazz, but found that he had to
play. Thus after years of wandering he turned east.
came through Pittsburgh on his way to New York. He met Horace Parlan,
the learned and talented pianist, and his life as a musician of
prominence was soon to begin. He and Horace came to the city, Horace to
work with the Charles Mingus group. When Mingus needed a
replacement for Jimmy Knepper, Parlan suggested Booker Ervin. Mingus
summoned Booker for an audition, and making up his mind with the speed
of lightning called Ervin to join the group six months later.
played with Mingus for over a year, making several important records
which brought him the recognition he deserved. "Mingus's charts
demanded that I play equally well in all registers of the horn, that I
learn to read the most difficult music without faltering, playing it
right on down with feeling, and that I learn to go farther out
harmonically than I had ever gone in my solos."
is a pleasure to present a young man who plays tenor with a wild
sweetness, with dizzying velocity, and an angular modernity which is
not devoid of personal warmth, beauty, and humor. This album showcases
the work of Booker Ervin, a rising jazz star, who has paid 11 years of
"dues" to bring to you his message.
--TOM WILSON, from the liner notes,