Nathan Davis

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Talented saxophonist and widely respected educator was also one of the great balladeers of modern jazz.
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Nathan Davis split his career between being a fine tenor saxophonist and a jazz educator. He played briefly with Jay McShann in 1955, attended the University of Kansas, spent time in the Army in Berlin (1960-1963), and stayed in Paris where he worked with Kenny Clarke (1963-1969), Eric Dolphy (1964), and Art Taylor. He also toured Europe with Art Blakey (1965) and Ray Charles. Starting in 1969, Davis was a professor of jazz at the University of Pittsburgh and Moorhead State University. His two most important musical associations involved leadership of the Paris Reunion Band (1985-1989) and Roots (which he formed in 1991). After 44 years, Davis retired from the University of Pittsburgh in June 2013. He died of congestive heart failure in Florida in April 2018 at the age of 81.