Charlie Davis

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Not to be confused with several prolific horn players who use the names Charlie Davis and Charles Davis, this performer was an Indiana bandleader and composer who was active for about a decade beginning…
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Artist Biography by

Not to be confused with several prolific horn players who use the names Charlie Davis and Charles Davis, this performer was an Indiana bandleader and composer who was active for about a decade beginning in the early '20s. In 1923 the group became to build a local reputation doing a summer dance show at Indianapolis' Casino Gardens, but by 1930 was on the bill at the Paramount Theatre in New York City with the likes of Cab Calloway. Davis also gnawed on publishing rights and got involved in the Indiana-based activities of the Gennett publishing empire.

The most important thing that he chewed on turned out to be his tobacco, however, as in the Copenhagen brand. While many romantic travelers think the jazz standard of this name is a tribute to the lovely city with the statue of a mermaid in its harbor, it was really composed by Davis out of deep commitment to his choice of chewing tobacco. According to the tale, Bix Beiderbecke and his band heard the tune at a Davis gig and went backstage begging for it. In 1924, the famous trumpeter Beiderbecke created the first of many, many versions of this "Copenhagen." Davis also has other copyrights, such as "Jimtown Blues," written in collaboration with Fred Rose. That Band from Indiana!, a one-act play by L.E. McCullough published in 2000, examines the era of the Roaring Twenties by detailing the rise of the Davis band.