By Patte Purcell

Some jazz artists in the desert are legendary and Yve Evans is one of them. She took a triumphant path when life threw her lemons and turned them into lemonade. She began our interview with a statement “I was born a poor black child,” with laughter….so begins the saga that is Yve.

The daughter of an army military family, her first foray into music came from her mother, a gospel singer and minister.

At the tender age of 3 years old, Yve made her first recording of “The Lord’s Prayer” acapella. In addition to the church music, she began singing and memorizing songs from the radio including all the cartoon favorites like the Mickey Mouse Club. The family followed her dad to Germany at age 12 and she began taking lessons from piano virtuoso Frau Anna Benkel, who introduced her to her love of classical piano.
At lessons, she charmed her mentor into playing each piece that she was to study, so that she could imitate her as she practiced, having no idea that forty years later, these images would continually resurface during performances. “She was such an exquisite player she would bring tears to my eye,” shared Yve.

In 1964 Yve was hit by a truck and told she would never walk again or have children. Yve proved them wrong on both counts. She was in the hospital for a month and then sent home where she was bedridden except for 15 minutes a day when she could sit up. She would drag herself to the piano and practice and continued her lessons.

She also used this time to take a correspondence course in behavioral psychology plus her regular homework.

When, to everyone’s astonishment, she was able to walk again she decided “I would do whatever pleased me and music pleased me.”

She loves to produce along with performing. She enjoys creating sets and making costumes and seeing them become part of a finished product. She pursued the art of storytelling with music and took it to orphanages in Germany. She said it was “good for her to help other children who felt alone and isolated.” She spent her summers from age13- 16 playing in a big band, light opera productions and touring Germany with choral groups.

At the age of 16, she moved back to America where she was told by a teacher not to rely on a career in music because “you can never be a soloist and should think about doing something else.”

Again Yve proved the naysayers wrong. She continued in the high school and University choral, mentored and encouraged by Carmen Dragon and Jester Harriston.

In 1969, she was the California State speech champion in original oratory and a student conductor of the California Youth Choral. Participation in these art forms only stoked her passion for music, theater and performance.

She attended UC Irvine having decided to pursue a major in speech pathology while working with children with visual and audial disabilities. What an incredible lady!

Yve’s attitude is “if it interests me I dive in.” She also has a Doctorate in Theology. Reverend Dr. is her title. As a minister she conducts weddings and funerals. Her studies in psychology and the healing arts and theology show her passion for learning.

Returning to the music side of her career, she toured on the Dixieland jazz circuit for 19 years with Chicago Six, a swinging Dixie band. She has had the same rhythm section for over twenty years. She’s done 7 live recordings albums under her own label. Her very first CD, 4JAZCME was Grammy nominated. That’s quite a feat for a new artist!

She chooses her songs for her CDs based on most requested selection by her audiences and insists on ‘broadcast quality’ production, not unlike live performances, which are delivered as if they are being recorded.
In addition to all of these accomplishments Yve was a news caster, DJ, and program director during 16 years in radio. She says she’s given away thousands of her own CDs over to University and public broadcasting stations over the last 30 years….to keep the hope alive…

Yve has been a fixture at the Idyllwild Jazz Festival for over 15 years. She packs the room at Woody’s (now Woody’s Palm House in Palm Springs) with her trio. She’s added a little comedy and her show includes stories and music. During season she plays at the Palm House twice monthly on Thursdays. Off season it’s every Thursday she is available.

Evans is a self-declared “Private Party in a Public Place,” and to that end, she is co-chairing the Arts Alliance Conference in September – Building Community through the Arts.

Yve was nominated for “Best Jazz Vocalist” for the Coachella Valley Music Awards 2016.

To contact Yve visit her website at, or email

Visit Yve Evans and Company at:

Sat. Aug. 20 – Jazz in the Pines, Idyllwild, Ca
Fench Quarter 4-530p, Yve Evans Trio
Idyllwild Arts Academy
52500 Temecula Road, Idyllwild, Ca 92549

Sun. Aug. 21 – Jazz in the Pines, Idyllwild, Ca
Main Stage 11-1215p
Voices in Praise
Idyllwild Arts Academy
52500 Temecula Road, Idyllwild, Ca 92549

Thurs. Aug. 25 – Woody’s Palm House 630-10p
450 South Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, Ca 92264