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.

Ways to Connect

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The September 25  Jazz Unlimited show will be a three-part show.  The “Keys and Strings Hour “ will feature pianist Gene Harris in the first hour.  The second hour will be “Remembering Toots Thielemans.”  The Belgian harmonica player and sometime guitarist will be heard with George Shearing, Cleo Laine, Kenny Werner, Mongo Santamaria, Judy Niemack and Joe Lovano.  New music for September in the third hour will feature Tim Warfield, John Scofield, the Bad Plus, the pianist Lang Lang, Enrico Pieranunzi, a duet between Andrew Cyrille and Bill McHenry and Quest.

The Heath Brothers

Sep 19, 2016
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Jazz Unlimited for September 26, 2016 is “The Heath Brothers.”  The Philadelphia-born Heath brothers, bassist Percy (1923-2005), saxophonist, arranger, composer Jimmy Heath (born 1926) and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath (born 1935) have been a force in jazz since the late 1940’s to the 1950’s up to the present.  They will be heard as individuals and with each other in a variety of musical contexts with King Pleasure, Bobby Timmons, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Wes Montgomery, Paul Desmond, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Red Garland, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone, Thelonious Monk, Cecil Payne

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Jazz Unlimited for September 11, 2016 will be “Remembering Bobby Hutcherson.”  Vibes and marimba player Bobby Hutcherson was born in Los Angeles, California in 1941 and was raised in the suburb of Pasadena.  His first recording was with Les McCann in 1960.  He worked with Curtis Amy and Gerald Wilson before moving to New York in 1963.  He recorded for Blue Note on many classic albums and was active until 2015, dying August 15 of this year from emphysema.  In addition to the aforementioned artists, Hutcherson will be heard with our own Grant Green, Abbey Lincoln, Andrew Hill with ou

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Jazz Unlimited will feature “John Coltrane in His Own Words and Music,” on Sunday. Jazz Unlimited airs from 9 p.m. to midnight, on St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 FM.

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Jazz Unlimited for August 28, 2016 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings hour for August will present the quieter side of jazz with four female modern jazz pianists: Lynne Arriale with new music from Geri Allen, Hiromi, and Renee Rosnes.  New music with Dr.

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Jazz Unlimited for August 21, 2016 is “The Music of McCoy Tyner.”  Pianist McCoy Tyner has been a powerful presence since he was part of the classic John Coltrane quartet from 1960 to 1965, but his uniqueness and artistry have been overshadowed by that tenure.  We will focus on his performances and compositions without Coltrane to bring his unique style of harmony and rhythm to Jazz Unlimited.  Tyner will be heard with Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Grant Green, the Jazztet, Freddie Hubbard, a Blue Note All-Star group and Wayne Shorter.  His compositions will be played by the Blue

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Jazz Unlimited for August 14, 2016 will be “The Career of Teddy Edwards.”  Tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards would have been better known had he lived in New York.  His 58-year playing career was mostly in the Los Angeles area.  He was a soloist with his own groups, the big bands of Gerald Wilson, Onzy Matthews and Joe Castro and worked in studios.  In addition to the above, he will be heard with his own quartet and tentette, Howard McGhee, Dexter Gordon, Helen Humes, Benny Carter, Frank Butler, the first Brown-Roach Inc.

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Jazz Unlimited for August 7, 2016 will be “The Career of Louis Hayes.”  Drummer Louis Hayes was born in Detroit in 1937 to a musical family and was leading a group in Detroit clubs by age 16.

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Jazz Unlimited for July 31, 2016 will be “Jazz Giants for July and August.”  Throughout its history, certain key musicians have heavily influenced the course of jazz. This month, the musicians will include Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Lester Young, Charlie Christian, Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter, Bill Evans, Abbey Lincoln, Johnny Hodges, Hank Jones, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Charlie Haden, Lee Morgan Steve Lacy and Albert Ayler.  The music heard will span 76 years of jazz.

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Jazz Unlimited for July 24, 2016 will be “Mel Lewis and Big Bands.”  Tonight’s show is an all big band presentation of the great drummer Mel Lewis in his element.  Lewis was born in Buffalo in 1929 to immigrant parents.  He came to the West Coast with Stan Kenton in 1957 and stayed until 1963, when he moved to New York.  His drumming style was supportive of a band, rather than pushing it.  In 1965, Lewis and Thad Jones founded the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, one of the greatest big bands in jazz history.  The band played Monday nights at the Village Vanguard and toured all over

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Jazz Unlimited July 17, 2016 for “Joe Mancuso and Dave Black Interview + New Music.”  St.

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Jazz Unlimited for July 10, 2016 is “The Music of Benny Golson.”  Tenor saxophonist, composer and arranger Benny Golson was born in 1929 in Philadelphia and is still performing at age 87.  He is best known for the Jazztet and his compositions like “Killer Joe,” “I Remember Clifford,” “Blues March,” “Whisper Not,” “Stablemates” and “Along Came Betty,” among others.  Groups heard on this show are the Phineas Newborn, Jr.

Live From Montreux

Jul 3, 2016
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Jazz Unlimited for June 3, 2016 will be “Live at Montreux.”  The Montreux Jazz Festival celebrates its 50th year this July.  It is the most recorded jazz festival in the world.  Unlike many jazz festivals, Montreux is not afraid of the avant-garde.  “Live at Montreux” will feature music from Ella Fitzgerald, Monty Alexander, Les McCann & Eddie Harris, Ray Bryant, Abdullah Ibrahim, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, the Art Blakey Big Band. Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Albert Mangelsdorff, Don Pullen’s African/Brazillian Connection, Ahmad Jamal.

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Jazz Unlimited June 26, 2016 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Quieter Side of Jazz will feature pianist, composer and bandleader Chick Corea along with Gary Burton in music ranging from piano trios, a piano-vibes duet and a quintet.  In addition, new music from Steve Davis, Russell Malone, Rene Marie, Warren Wolf, Geoff Keezer, Steve Swallow, the Frank Lowe Saxemble, the power trio of David Murray, Geri Allen and Terri Lynne Carrington, Anthony Braxton, Joe Manieri, and William Parker will be heard in the last two hours. 

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday June 19 is “The Compositions of Charles Mingus.”  Bassist/composer Charles Mingus’s work reflected his experiences as a mixed race man who identified himself as black.  Known as the angry man of jazz, his music was influenced by the black church, classical music, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington and was concerned throughout his career with civil rights and relationships.  We will hear his compositions played by his own groups, Dave Brubeck, Mingus Dynasty, Judy Niemack & Mal Waldron, Marty Ehrlich, The Mingus Big Band, Bob Stewart, George Adams, Junko

The Clayton Family

Jun 12, 2016
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Jazz Unlimited for June 12, 2016 will be “The Clayton Family.”  The Clayton Brothers, Jeff (reeds), John (bass) and John’s son Gerald (piano) are world-class jazz musicians, studio musicians, educators, multiple Grammy nominees and music directors for a number of jazz festivals.  We will hear them with the Clayton Brothers Quintet, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Monty Alexander, Count Basie, Don and Alicia Cunningham, Gene Harris, Milt Jackson, Superbass, Chie Imaizumi, the Gerald Clayton Trio, Ambrose Aikinmusire and Kurt Elling.

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, June 5, 2016 will be “The Career of Milt Jackson.”  Vibraphonist Milt Jackson (1923-1999) was born in Detroit and started playing guitar at age seven and piano at age 11.  His music came from the church.  Dizzy Gillespie discovered him in 1945.  Best known for his long tenure with the Modern Jazz Quartet, his career in jazz spanned 54 performing years with artists that ranged from Ray Charles and Woody Herman to Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.   In addition to his own groups, we will bear Jackson with Fats Navarro, Cole

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Jazz Unlimited for May 29, 2016 is “Jazz Giants for May and June.”  Throughout its history, certain key players have heavily influenced the course of jazz.  These key players are the ones that lesser players imitate and copy.  Jazz Unlimited always plays the Jazz Giants instead of the imitators.  Jazz Giants heard on this show include the King Oliver Creole Jazz with Louis Armstrong, The New Orleans Feetwarmers with Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier, Frank Trumbauer with Biz Beiderbecke, Fats Waller, Paul Barbarin, Benny Goodman with Georgie Auld, the Lennie Niehaus Octet, the Freddi

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, May 22, 2016 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Quieter Side of Jazz will present John Lewis, a pianist and composer whose style resided at the nexus of jazz and classical music.  We will hear him in settings ranging from the blues (“Pyramid” [“Blues for Junior”]) to Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez.”  New music will feature a recording of our own Clark Terry and Ernie Wilkins that has a vocal from Dexter Gordon, the Brazilian Trio Da Paz, Florida pianist Lynne Arriale, Philadelphian Duane Eubanks and DE3, Sonny Rollins’ latest

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, May 15, 2016 will be “The Music of Mary Lou Williams.”  Piano prodigy Mary Lou Williams taught herself piano at the age of six and was playing professionally by age seven.  Discovered in Kansas City in 1929, she wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements for many bands as well as playing powerful jazz piano.  In the early 1950’s, she became a devout Catholic and wrote three masses (two unrecorded).  Her “Mass for Peace,” also known as “Mary Lou’s Mass,” was commissioned by the Pontifical Commission on Peace and Justice in March of 1969.  We will hear

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Jazz Unlimited for May 8, 2016 will be  “Compositions Associated with Miles Davis.”  Trumpeter Miles Davis was one of the most important and innovative figures in jazz from 1947 until his death in 1991.  But, throughout his career and up until today, the provenance of some of the compositions he claimed as his have been in dispute.  We will hear his compositions along with those that are in dispute.  They will be played by Miles himself, Charlie Parker, Ray Bryant, J.J.

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, May 1, 2016 will be “The Career of Jimmy Cobb.”  Best known for his associations with Miles Davis and the Wynton Kelly Trio, drummer Jimmy Cobb is now 87 and still going strong.  He was born in Washington D.C.

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, April 24, will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.” The Keys and Strings hour will feature pianist Keith Jarrett, one of the most amazing improvisers in jazz, in solo, duo and trio performances.  New music for April will include the debut live recording of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, the SF Jazz Collective performing the music of Michael Jackson, vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, the Steve Kuhn Trio, the East-West Trumpet Summit, newly discovered live piano duets between Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones, Ernie Wilkins’ Almost big Band, the Marc

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The Sunday, April 17  Jazz Unlimited will be “Compositions of Duke Ellington.”   April marks the 117thth birthday of one of our greatest composers, Duke Ellington.  We will hear music that includes a 1932 medley in stereo, a suite for a film on the horse racing paintings of Degas, a vocal of one of his pieces from “Such Sweet Thunder,” a tribute to Shakespeare.  Other artists on the show include Al Cohn, Benny Carter, Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Johnny O’Neal, Ella Fitzgerald, Clarinet Summit, Buell Neidlinger, McCoy Tyner, the Vienna Art Orchestra, J

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Jazz Unlimited for April will be “The Career of Geri Allen.” Geri Allen was born Pontiac, MI.  Her family moved to Detroit.  She is a graduate of Cass Technical High School, whose music program has produced so many jazz musicians.  She has an AB in jazz from Howard University and an MS in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh.  In addition to her performing career, she is now an Associate Professor and jazz studies director at the University of  Pittsburgh.  We will be heard with her own trios and small groups and in addition with Wallace Roney, Charles Lloyd, Roy Brook

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, April 3, will be “The Career of Ron Carter.”  Ron Carter is the most recorded bassist in jazz.  In his 50-year career, he has played with just about everybody.  This show includes Carter’s playing with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, Benny Carter, The Great Jazz Trio, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Eric Dolphy, T.S. Monk, The Kronos Quartet, Tadd Dameron, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron, Geri Allen, Gil Evans, Abby Lincoln, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, Shirley Horn, St. Louis' own Fred Tompkins and Freddie Hubbard. 

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Jazz Unlimited for March 27 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The late pianist Paul Bley will be remembered during the Keys and Strings Hour.  New music will be featured in the second and third hours.  It will include trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, Charles Lloyd, the young pianist Joey Alexander, Hendrik Muerkins, drummer Sherry Miracle and Five Play, the Stryker/Slagle band, Snarky Puppy, the Phil Woods Quintet, Bill Frisell, the Kansas City Generations Sextet, the Russian bassist Ark Ovrutsky and Three Story Sandbox.

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Jazz Unlimited for March 20, 2016 is “The Music of Sonny Rollins.”  Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins is one of the greatest living improvisers in jazz.  Over his sixty plus year career, he has taken part in many recordings as both a leader and sideman.  He has also composed well-known jazz standards that remain challenging today.  We will him with his own groups, Bud Powell, Brown/Roach Inc. Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.  His compositions will be played by St. Louisan Grant Green with Sonny Clark, J.J.

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Jazz Unlimited for March 13, 2016 will be “Jazz Families-Blood Relatives-Part 5.”  This last program on the genetics of jazz will feature music by the Joe and Walter “Foots” Thomas, the New Orleans Humphrey, Joseph, Batiste, Barker, Barbarin, and Jordan families, George E. and Julia Lee, the Hall Brothers, Nicholas Payton and his father Walter, the Sims brothers, St. Louis’s Silverman brothers, the Freemans of Chicago, Oscar Pettiford and his brother Alonzo, Ingrid and Christine Jensen, and Alice Coltrane and her half brother, Ernie Farrow.

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Jazz Unlimited for February 6, 2016 is “The Compositions of Richard Rodgers.”  Richard Rodgers was a composer who wrote over 900 compositions.  Music from his Broadway shows is used in jazz.  His music will be performed on this show by Stan Getz, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Bill Watrous, Roy Hargrove, Donald Byrd, Pepper Adams, Billie Holiday, the Great Jazz Trio, Gerry Mulligan, Nat Adderley, Sonny Clark, Miles Davis, Roger Kellaway, Red Mitchell. Gene Harris, John McLaughlin, Cassandra Wilson and Oliver Nelson.  This show is part of St.

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