Ervin, Booker Telleferro, Jr.
- Barry Kernfeld
Ervin, Booker Telleferro, Jr. (31 October 1930–31 August 1970), jazz tenor saxophonist, was born in Denison, Texas, the son of Booker Ervin, a trombonist who played with tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate; his mother’s name is unknown. Ervin played his father’s instrument from ages eight to thirteen and then abandoned music. In 1950 he borrowed a tenor saxophone to play in an Army Air Force band. Discharged in 1952 or 1953, he spent another period away from active playing before studying at the Berklee School of Music in Boston during the academic year 1953–1954. He returned to Texas and again dropped out of music. From 1955 to 1956 he played with rhythm-and-blues bands in the Southwest and in Chicago, including a period with Ernie Fields’s group. In 1956 he traveled to Dallas and then to Denver, where he played his first jazz jobs but once again became dissatisfied with his playing. He studied mechanical drawing before working for the post office....