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

Dennis C.. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C.. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for February 8 will be  “Jazz Musicians With Long Performance Careers-Part 2.”  While many jazz fans think that jazz musicians die young, data shows that this is not the case.  The month of February will be devoted to the music of over 200 major jazz artists who have performing careers of fifty years and longer.  Some of the 78 musicians heard in various combinations on tonight’s show are Ernestine Anderson, Benny Goodman, Mary Lou Williams, Abdullah Ibrahim, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Please join me on Jazz Unlimited Sunday, February 1 from 9:00 pm to midnight for “Jazz Musicians With Long Performance Careers-Part 1.”  While many jazz fans think that jazz musicians die young, data shows that this is not the case.  The month of February will be devoted to the music of over 200 major jazz artists who have performing careers of fifty years and longer.  Some of the 72 musicians heard on tonight’s show are George Shearing, Clark Terry, Flip Phillips, Illinois Jacquet, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Lee Konitz, Ahmad Jamal, Charlie Haden, Charles Lloyd, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Su

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, January 25 will be “Gershwin-Part 4: Classical Compositions + New Music”  Gershwin’s classical compositions have also resonated with audiences.  During our keys and strings hour, we will hear his piano roll versions of “An American in Paris,” Rhapsody in Blue” and “Novelette in Fourths” and duets between Gary Burton and Makoto Ozone on “Prelude No.

Heard on "Jasbo Brown Blues," "I Got Plenty O'Nuttin'," "Oh Bess, Oh Where's My Bess" and "There's Dat's Leavin' for New York"
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, January 18 will be “Gershwin-Part 3: Porgy and Bess.”  “Porgy and Bess” really resonated with jazz musicians.  Forty versions of it have been recorded since 1950.  This show will feature music from five versions of the opera by: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Cleo Laine and Ray Charles, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Miles Davis and Gil Evans and Joe Henderson.  Additional artists who will be heard are Johnny Hartman, Herbie Hancock, Stefon Harris & Blackout, Shirley Horn, Lynne Arriale, Bennie Wallace, Nina Simone and Fred Hersch.

Heard on "Our Love Is Here To Stay" and "Let;s Call the Whole Thing Off
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for January 11 will be “Gershwin-Part 2: Show, Film and Some Classical Music.”  This is the second part of a month-long listen to jazz versions of Gershwin compositions.  Tonight’s selection of music will include performances by Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, George Gershwin, the Gene Krupa Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Urbie Green, Cassandra Wilson, Eric Dolphy & Makanda Ken Mcintyre, Donald Byrd & John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young, our own Reggie Thomas, Ahmad Jamal, Les McCann and Marcus Roberts.

Heard on "Lady Be Good"
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for January 4, 2015 will be “Gershwin-Part 1: Show Music.”  This is the first part of a month long listen to jazz versions of Gershwin compositions.  Our own Stephanie Trick, Dave Venn, Steve Schenkel, Jay Hungerford, Valerie Tichacek, Kim Portnoy, Ric Vice and Clancy Newell will be heard along with Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dexter Gordon, Oscar Peterson, Benny Goodman and Shirley Horn, among others.

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

New Music

Dec 27, 2014
Heard on "Tall and Lanky" and "Albert's Blue Sky"
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, December 28 will be “New Music.”  This show will start with the “Keys and Strings Hour,” which will feature a new 1974 live recording of the first Keith Jarrett Trio, along with music by stride pianist/vocalist Joe Turner, bassist David Friesen, and pianists Hal Galper and Danny Green.  The second and third hours will present new music from our own Eric Warren, trumpeter Thomas Marriot, the Alex Mercado Trio, the Jim Norton Collective, drummer Ali Jackson, the Bill Warfield Big Band, two versions of the Jeff Coffin Mu’Tet, Dave Liebman, our own Oliver Lake and tru

Heard on Horace Silver's "Peace."
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited's show for Sunday, December 21 will be the annual winter holiday show, this time called “Meditations on Peace.”  2014 has been a rough year for our world, our country and our city.  At this time of year many people espouse peace, but do they really mean it?  In 24 different songs containing the word “Peace” in the title and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Sir William Gladstone, Petra Kelly, John F.

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, December 14 will be “The Career of Coleman Hawkins: the Father of the Tenor Saxophone."  Coleman Hawkins was the first to recognize the beauty and utility of the tenor saxophone.  Before he came along, it was a novelty instrument.  Since his first recording in 1921, Hawkins has paved the way for a lot of tenor players and influenced many.  He is known as the “father of the tenor saxophone.” We will listen to his 47-year career that includes music with Fletcher Henderson, St.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for SUnday, December 7 will be  “The Fifty Year Anniversary of the Recording of “A Love Supreme.”  On December 9, 1964, the John Coltrane Quartet entered Rudy Van Gelder’s studio with almost no written music but for a few sketches and what looked like a handwritten poem.  They proceeded to record the album “A Love Supreme,” one of the most important and best selling albums in jazz.  Since that time, three other versions of the work have been recorded along with interpretations of various sections by a number of artists.  We will hear these interpretations played by the Conrad

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