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Nathaniel C. Davis

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Nathaniel Cleophas “Shorty” Davis (1888, Tennessee -19 December 1972, Atlanta, Ga.) was an American bandmaster, trombonist, publisher and composer.

Davis was active in the early 20th century. In 1912, he was leader of an 18-piece Olympic Elks Band. In 1914, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and led the band at the Tennessee School for the Blind. When Davis registered for the draft shortly after the United States entered World War I, he described himself as self-employed and a "band organizer and school teacher." From March 29, 1918 to March 7, 1919, Davis served with the U.S. Army's 368th Regiment (92nd Infantry Division) as a musician. The Regiment, whose enlisted men and junior officers were African Americans but its senior officers all white, was stationed in France and it was disbanded upon its return to New York City in March, 1919.

Davis and his brothers, Otis B. and Clarence M., operated a music enterprise that eventually included a music school and a small music publishing business. The music school, known as the Traveling Conservatory of Music and later as the Davis Band and Orchestra School, offered instruction on practically all instruments.

Davis also led his own professional band, which presented concerts and performed at fairs and in parades. Judging by the titles of his compositions, he was probably a trombonist.

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