Nathan Davis

Nathan Davis

Saxophoniste, compositeur et professeur de jazz, Nathan Davis a joué avec tous les grands musiciens de la scène européenne des années 1960.

Saxophonist, composer and jazz teacher, Nathan Davis played with all the great musicians of the European scene in the 1960s.

Nathan Davis was born in 1937 in Kansas City. His mother is a gospel singer, his father an amateur musician, and he plays tenor and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. He became a professional musician at the age of 16 in Jay McShann's orchestra.

His career took off when he moved to Paris in the 1960s after doing his military service in Berlin. He played several years in Kenny Clarke's band and made his first recordings with Woody Shaw and Eric Dolphy. He then took the lead in various bands and played alongside Bud Powell, Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey, Ray Charles... He was quickly placed in the post-bebop and post-Coltranian generation, although he rejected this categorization. Throughout his career, Nathan Davis showed an openness to modal, funk, North African and Indian music.

A graduate in ethnomusicology, Nathan Davis returned to the United States in 1969 to become a teacher at the University of Pittsburgh. There he founded the jazz department, for which he organized seminars and concerts. At the same time, he directed the Paris Reunion Band at the end of the 1980s (with Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson and Woody Shaw among others) and formed his own group, Roots, in 1991.

From 2013, he spent a large part of his retirement in Florida, where he died in 2018 at the age of 81.