Nathan Davis, 81, April 9 in Florida. Founder of the University of Pittsburgh’s Jazz Studies program and it’s director from 1969-2013. Born in Kansas City and primarily a saxophone player he cut his chops in Jay McShann’s band. He spent the 1960’s in Europe recording on labels in Germany as well as with Art Blakey’s Pittsburgh based the New Jazzmen and the Jazz Messengers. In Europe he worked extensively with another Pittsburgh native, drummer Kenny “Klook” Clarke, and when he returned to the United States in 1969 it was to take the directorship at Pitt. In the mid 80’s he founded the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra. He continued to record and played European dates nearly every summer but turned his focus towards teaching. He became famous for his Intro To Jazz seminar which was at times the most popular course at the university and inspired generations of fans.
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