Dennis Owsley | St. Louis Public Radio

Dennis Owsley

Jazz Unlimited Host

Dennis Owsley has been hosting a weekly radio show on St. Louis Public Radio since 1983. He has been a jazz album collector, aficionado, and historian since 1958 and has seen most of the major artists in jazz in live performance.

Owsley wrote an award-winning book, City of GabrielsThe Jazz History of St. Louis 1895-1973.

Nearly all the music heard on Jazz Unlimited is from Owsley's personal collection. He is gaining an international reputation as a photographer of jazz musicians as well.

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Jazz Unlimited November 12, 2017 was “Re-Imagining “Ain’t Misbehavin’, Honeysuckle Rose and Jitterbug Waltz.” Fats Waller composed many tunes, some of which are favorite vehicles for re-imagination in a variety of styles.  The musicians who played “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Honeysuckle Rose” and “The Jitterbug Waltz” ranged from Waller himself to Anthony Braxton.

There are no photos for this show.

There is no video for this show.

The Archive for this show will be available until the morning of November 20, 2017.

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, November 5, 2017 will be “The Career of Lee Konitz.”  Saxophonist Lee Konitz has been performing on the international stage for 72 years.  He was known early in his career for associations with Claude Thornhill, Lennie Tristano, the Birth of the Cool band and Stan Kenton.  Konitz has forged a long career in styles ranging from swing to avant-garde.  In addition to the above, we will hear him with Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Judy Niemack, Warne Marsh & Bill Evans, Jeanfrancois Prins, Brad Mehldau & Charlie Haden and Art Pepper.  His composition “S

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Jazz Unlimited for October 29, 2017 will be “Jazz Giants for September and October.”  Jazz giants are those musicians who have made exceptional contributions to jazz.  Our Jazz Giants show for September and October will present such musicians as Jimmy Blanton, Lester Bowie, Clifford Brown, Hamiet Bluiett, Ray Brown, John Coltrane, Dave Holland, Milt Jackson, Elvin Jones, Oliver Lake, Jelly Roll Morton, Art Pepper, Oscar Pettiford, Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Art Tatum and Gerald Wilson.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the musicians heard on this show.

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Jazz Unlimited for October 22, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour Plus New Music.”  The quieter side of jazz will present an hour of compositions of Thelonious Monk played by pianists including Monk himself, the Monk’s Music Trio, Jay McShann & John Hicks, Jessica Williams, guitarist Joshua Breakstone and sung by Judy Niemack.

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Jazz Unlimited for October 15, 2017 will be “The Thelonious Monk Centennial.”  In his lifetime, Thelonious Monk composed just over 70 tunes.  Monk’s little gems are the second most recorded compositions in all of jazz history.  Monk would have been 100 years old on October 10.  We will play his music performed by him on solo piano, small groups and big bands and by Ray Anderson, Carmen McRae, Scott Amendola, the Monk’s Music Trio, Abbey Lincoln, Irene Schweizer, Coleman Hawkins, Organ Monk, Fred Hersch, John Coltrane, Andy Bey, Kenny Barron & Regina Carter, Danilo Perez, Steve

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Jazz Unlimited for October 8, 2017 will feature “The Music of Mal Waldron.”  Pianist Mal Waldron was one of the great accompanists in jazz, playing with nearly everyone during his over 50-year career, including Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Teo Macero, Steve Lacy, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Terence Blanchard & Donald Harrison, Abbey Lincoln,  David Murray, Judy Niemack and Anthony Braxton.  He composed over 400 tunes and we will hear two of these played by our own Hard Bop Heritage group and Dizzy Gillespie.  He also composed music scores for at least four films.

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Jazz Unlimited for October 1, 2017 will be “The Music of John Lewis.”  Best known as the pianist and music director of the Modern Jazz Quartet, John Lewis was involved in much more.  During his over 50 year career, he played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and was involved in the development of Third Stream music, a classical jazz hybrid.  We will hear him with the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Miles Davis “Birth of the Cool Band,” The Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and small groups, the American Jazz Orchestra, Clifford Brown and J.J.

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Jazz Unlimited for September 24, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Dizzy Gillespie Tunes) + New Music.”  The quieter side of jazz in the first hour will feature tunes by Dizzy Gillespie played by pianists Lynne Ariale, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Keith Jarrett, Mary Lou Williams, Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan and Kenny Barron.  The noisier side of jazz will be heard in the second and third hours with new music played by Harold Mabern, the Debbie Poryes Trio, Emi Meyer, the group Hudson, a Martian Solal/Dave Liebman duet, Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd playing a Mo

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Jazz Unlimited for Septemner 17, 2017 will be “The Dizzy Gillespie Centennial.”  Jazz needs a Dizzy Gillespie for his audience communication skills and basic humanity.  We will celebrate his hundredth birthday, which will be in October, with a survey of the music in his career mainly from a time when he was playing at his best technically and imaginatively.  We will hear Dizzy with his own groups and big bands, Cab Calloway, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, Jazz At the Philharmonic, Quincy Jones, Benny Carter and

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Jazz Unlimited for September 10, 2017 will be “The Music of Oscar Peterson.”  Pianist Oscar Peterson is reputed to be the most recorded pianist in jazz.  We will hear him with Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, Ed Thigpen, Ben Webster, Flip Phillips, Lester Young, Stan Getz & Lester Young, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Jazz At the Philharmonic, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Sonny Stitt and Stuff Smith.  This show is part of the St.

The Sleep Cycle

Aug 31, 2017

All of us spend a significant portion of our lives sleeping.  When we are asleep, we dream, we have rapid eye movements, some of us talk, some of us walk and at one time or other we all have nightmares.  There are a surprising number of tunes having to do with what goes on when we sleep.   We feature music by Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Irene Reid, Johnny Hodges, Bertha Hope, Roger Kellaway, Count Basie, Ornette Coleman, Kurt Elling, Gary Burton, Horace Silver, Irene Reid, Meredith D'Ambrosio, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Charles Mingus, Gerald Clayton, Marilyn Crispell, Toshiko

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Jazz Unlimited for August 27, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  Piano duets will be featured on the August “Keys and Strings Hour.”  The duets will be between Albert Ammons & Meade “Lux” Lewis, Ralph Sutton & Jay McShann, Oscar Peterson & Benny Green, Count Basie & Oscar Peterson, Harold Danko & Kirk Lightsey, Tommy Flanagan & Hank Jones, Chick Corea & Hiromi and Dick Hyman and Roger Kellaway.  In addition, new music will be heard from a CD entitled “The Passion of Charlie Parker,” the group Steps Ahead, Slideride (a kind of “World T

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, August 20, 2017 will be “Broadway 1950 and Beyond-Part 2.”  Before the original cast record albums, most of the music from Broadway musicals came into jazz via films based on those shows.  Since then, music directly from Broadway shows has crept into jazz.  We will hear music from “The King and I,” “The Music Man,”  “Guys and Dolls,” “42nd Street,” “Funny Girl,” “Company,” “A Chorus Line,” “The Wiz,” “The Girls of Summer,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “The Sound of Music,” “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of

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Jazz Unlimited for August 13, 2017 will be “Broadway: 1950 and Beyond-Part 1.”  Before the original cast record albums, most of the music from Broadway musicals came into jazz via films based on those shows.  Since then, music directly from Broadway shows has crept into jazz.  We will hear music from “West Side Story,” “My Fair Lady,” “Evita,” “Hello Dolly,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “A Little Night Music,” Camelot,” “Mary Poppins,” “Bells Are Ringing” and “The King and I.”  Singleton Palmer, Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughan, Keith Jarrett, David Liebman, Oscar Peterson, Shelly Manne, Tamir

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Jazz Unlimited for August 6, 2017 will be “Dexter Gordon in His Own Words.”  The great tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon was noted not only for his melodic solos that were compositions in their own right but also for inserting humorous quotes into his solos.  He had a great speaking voice and late in his career was nominated for an Oscar for his work in the film “‘Round Midnight.”  We will hear him in four monologues on various topics and with Dizzy Gillespie, the Billy Eckstine Orchestra, Wardell Gray, Herbie Hancock, Woody Shaw and with his own groups.  His compositions will be pla

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, July 30 2017 will be “Remembering Geri Allen.”  Geri Allen was a pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader and visionary jazz educator who died last June.  Jazz Unlimited will pay tribute to her by playing music from her own Mary Lou Williams Collective and Timeline groups as well as with such musicians as Bobby Hutcherson, Andy Bey, Charlie Haden, Charles Lloyd, Roy Brooks, Betty Carter, T.S.

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Jazz Unlimited for July 23, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour Featuring Gary Peacock + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour will present bassist Gary Peacock with the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio, Mark Copland, Barney Kessel, Claire Fischer, Don Pullen and Marilyn Crispell with Annette Peacock.  New music to be presented will include a trio of Jack Dejohnette, Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison, a duo of Dominique Eade and Ran Blake, the Tom Kohl Trio, the Mats Holmquist and Hyeson Hong Big Bands, Wadada Leo Smith saluting our National Parks, a trio of Carla Bley, Steve Swallo

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Jazz Unlimited for July 16, 2017 will be “The Music of Johnny Hodges Away from Duke Ellington.”  Johnny Hodges was a major star in the Duke Ellington firmament as the alto saxophonist who played the lyrical compositions of his bandleader.  Ellington said his tone was so beautiful it brought tears to his eyes.  We will spotlight his music away from the Ellington orbit.  We will hear Hodges with his own groups and as a sideman with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Joe Thomas, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Billy Strayhorn, Jazz At the Philharmonic, Billy Taylor, Sr.

Freedom

Jul 2, 2017
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Jazz Unlimited for July 9, 2017 will be “Freedom.”  July Fourth brings to my mind Billy Strayhorn’s Four Freedoms that I try to live by: freedom from hate, freedom from self pity, freedom from fear of doing something that would benefit someone else more than it would me and freedom from the pride that could make me feel that I was better than others.  All of the selections on this show will have the word “Freedom” in the title.  We will play music from Duke Ellington, the Jazz Crusaders, Grant Green, Max Roach, Eddie Harris, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Lennie Tristano, Lion

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday.

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Jazz Unlimited for Sundan, June 18, 2017 will be  “The Career of Wynton Kelly.”  Pianist Wynton Kelly graced many live and studio sessions with his clean, lively lines.  He was best known as an accompanist, pushing the music of Art Pepper, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson, Art Blakey, Milt Jackson, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Abbey Lincoln to new heights.  In addition, we will hear one of his compositions played by a group with seven tubas and a rhythm section.

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Jazz Unlimited  for June 11, 2117 will be “The Career of  Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.”   Also known as “the great Dane with the never ending name,” Ørsted Pedersen was born in 1946.  His father was a church organist.  He took piano lessons as a child, switched to bass at age 13 and made his first recordings at 14.  By 15 he was working regularly at Copenhagen’s famed Montmartre Jazzhus and by 16, toured Scandinavia with Bud Powell.  He recorded with Albert Ayler at age 17 and had a career accompanying Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon, Joe Pass, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillesp

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Jazz Unlimited for June 4, 2017 will be “The Career of Lionel Hampton.”  Vibraphonist, drummer and vocalist Lionel Hampton was one of the first to bring the vibraphone into jazz as a solo instrument.  His out-sized personality kept his career going long after the swing era had faded.  We will hear him with artists as diverse as Paul Howard’s Quality Serenaders, Louis Armstrong, Nat “King” Cole, the Jim Cullum River Walk Jazz Band, Benny Goodman, Art Tatum, Buddy Rich, Dinah Washington, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Charlie Christian, Chu Berry, Oscar Peterson, Johnny Hodges and Dizzy

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Jazz Unlimited tonight for May 28, 2017 will be “Six Decades of Keys and Strings at the Vanguard + New Music.”  The venerable Village Vanguard has been the site of many outstanding recordings.  The May Keys and Strings Hour will present music recorded in every decade from the 1960’s to the 2010’s in that venue, including music by the Bobby Hutcherson Quartet, a Jim Hall Quartet and the trios of Junior Mance, Christian McBride, Bill Charlap and Fred Hersch, along with the Great Jazz Trio.  New music for May will feature George Coleman, a duo between Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith,

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Jazz Unlimited for May 21, 2017 will be  “The Music if Bill Evans.”  Pianist Bill Evans is arguably the most influential pianist in jazz since the early 1960’s.  His elegant, impressionistic pianism and compositions will be celebrated by hearing recordings of him with his own groups, with others and by other instrumentalists and vocalists playing and singing his music.  The featured musicians, in addition to Evans, will include vocalists Johnny Hartman, Tony Bennett, Janice Borla, Karrin Allyson and Judy Niemack along with instrumentalists Tadd Dameron, Joe Pass, the Miles Davis se

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Jazz Unlimited for May 14 will be “The Compositions of Carla Bley.” Composer, arranger and bandleader Carla Bley continues to work at age 81.  Her first compositions were recorded by the George Russell sextet.  These elegiac, sometimes sardonic and witty compositions will be played by George Russell, her own groups and big bands, Gary Burton, Jimmy Giuffre, the Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, John McLaughlin, Art Farmer & Jim Hall, Paul Bley, Orrin Evans and Tony Williams’ Lifetime.

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Jazz Unlimited for May 7, 2017 will be “The Steeplechase, Storyville and Challenge Record Labels-Part 2.” Theses Danish labels provided a haven for American jazz musicians who were not involved in jazz-rock, avant-garde or the neo-classicism of the 1970’s through the early 1990’s.

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Jazz Unlimited for April 30, 2017 will be  “Jazz Giants for March and April.”  The March and April Jazz Giants show features musicians who have changed the way we listen to jazz.  The musicians heard on the show will be Bix Beiderbecke, Billie Holiday Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Ben Webster, Thad Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Carmen McRae, Gary Burton, Nat “King Cole, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Johnny Griffin, Red Norvo, Randy Weston, Jim Hall, Paul Chambers, Charles Tolliver, Sarah Vaughan, Lennie Tristano, George Adams, Joe Henderson, Miles Davis, Michael Brecker, Char

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Jazz Unlimited for April 23, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Hoagy Carmichael Tunes) and New Music.  The music will be played by: Marian McPartland, Ray Brown, Ray Bryant, Jim Hall & Charlie Haden, Dave Brubeck, Red Garland, Gene Harris, the SFJazz Collective, Benny Green, Kelvyn Bell, Judy Niemack, Charlie Watts & the Danish Radio Big Band, Mike McGinnis, Adam Schneidt and Antonio Adolpho.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the artists heard on this show.

The Archive of this show will be available until the morning of may 1, 2017.

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Jazz Unlimited for April 16, 2017 will be “The Compositions of Duke Ellington: Collaborations with Billy Strayhorn.”  Duke Ellington and his writing partner, Billy Strayhorn were so closely attuned that on some compositions, no one could tell who wrote what.  We will have selections from this collaboration by the Ellington Orchestra, Scott Amendola & Charlie Hunter, Stefon Harris, Kenny Baron & Dave Holland, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Clark Terry & Ernie Wilkins, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Tommy Flanagan & Jaki Byard, Cleo Laine, The Palmetto All-Stars, Art F

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