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Nathan Davis (saxophonist)

Nathan Davis (born February 15, 1937)[1] is an American hard bop jazz multi-instrumentalist who plays the tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Davis is probably best known for his work with Eric Dolphy, Kenny Clarke, Ray Charles, Slide Hampton and Art Blakey.[2][3]

Dr. Nathan Davis
Born (1937-02-15) February 15, 1937 (age 81)
Origin Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Instruments Tenor saxophone
Soprano saxophone
Bass clarinet
Years active 1960s–present
Associated acts Nathan Davis Sextet, Nathan Davis Quartet
Website Pitt faculty page for Nathan Davis

Nathan traveled extensively around Europe after the war and moved to Paris in 1962. He holds a Ph.D in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and has been a professor of music and director of jazz studies at the University of Pittsburgh since 1969, an academic program that he helped to initiate.[4] He is also founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert, the first academic jazz event of its kind in the country.[5][6] He also helped to found the university's William Robinson Recording Studio as well as establish the International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame located in the school's William Pitt Union and the University of Pittsburgh-Sonny Rollins International Jazz Archives.[7] Davis, who retired in 2013 as director of the Jazz Studies Program at Pitt, now has Professor Emeritus status at the university.[8] Davis also served as the editor of the International Jazz Archives Journal.[9]

One of Davis' best known musical associations was heading the Paris Reunion Band (1985-1989), which at different times included Nat Adderley, Kenny Drew, Johnny Griffin, Slide Hampton, Joe Henderson, Idris Muhammad, Dizzy Reece, Woody Shaw, and Jimmy Woode. Davis also toured and recorded with the post-bop ensemble leading Roots which he formed in 1991.[10][11]

Davis has also composed various pieces, including a 2004 opera entitled "Just Above My Head".[12]

On October 5, 2013, Davis was awarded the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation's BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.[13]



As leaderEdit


  1. ^ Allaboutjazz
  2. ^ Allmusic
  3. ^ Carr, Ian; Digby Fairweather; Brian Priestley (1995). Jazz: The Rough Guide. The Rough Guides. p. 162. ISBN 1-85828-137-7. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ James L. Conyers (2001). African American Jazz and Rap. McFarland. pp. 95, 104, 109. ISBN 0-7864-0828-6. 
  6. ^ Blake, Sharon S. (2011-10-10). "Lineup Set for Pitt's Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert". Pitt Chronicle. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2011-10-11. 
  7. ^ Karlovits, Bob (April 26, 2013). "Creative jazz educator Nathan Davis to retire". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ Blake, Sharon (August 22, 2013). "43rd Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert Set for November" (Press release). University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Sonny Rollins International Jazz Archives". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Nathan Davis". All About Jazz. April 19, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Nathan Davis: biography". Retrieved January 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ Karlovits, Bob (January 22, 2013). "Nathan Davis duet will have premiere at New York's Carnegie Hall". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved January 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ Kariovits, Bob (May 8, 2013). "Pitt director of jazz studies Nathan Davis to receive legacy award in D.C." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 

Further readingEdit