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

The May 11 Jazz Unlimited will be “The Music of Miles Davis.” Born in Alton, Il., and raised in East St.

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Please join me Sunday night on Jazz Unlimited from nine to midnight for  “The Career of Kenny Burrell.”  Detroit born guitarist and teacher Kenny Burrell has had a 64 year as a performer and teacher.  An active studio musician, he performed in over 600 record sessions.  Burrell has 70 albums as a leader.  In 1996, he became a professor and Director of Jazz Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.  He teaches an annual course on Duke Ellington called “Ellingtonia.”  Kenny Burrell will be heard with Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Hank Jones, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Milt Jackson,

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The April 27  Jazz Unlimited will be  “The Keys and Strings Hour Plus New Music for April.”   April marks the 115th birthday of one of our greatest composers, Duke Ellington.  We will hear his music played without horns by Kenny Burrell, Abdullah Ibrahim, Tommy Flanagan, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Smith, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Randy Weston and the Modern Jazz Quartet.  New music will feature a new, never heard CD of Ben Webster and Oscar Peterson, a trio led by the Unusual pianist Billy Tipton, jazz pioneer Carline Ray, guitarist Terence Brewer, the Jimmy Heath Big Band, Leo Parker, a ma

Women In Current Jazz

Apr 12, 2014
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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, April 13 will be “Women in Current Jazz.”  While there have been many female jazz vocalists, instrumentalists are harder to find.  As times change, women have become heard in jazz playing all sorts of instruments, not just pianos and guitars.  This show will feature female jazz artists who have been active since 2000, with three vocal recordings and 26 instrumental recordings.  The female jazz artists featured on tonight’s show are organist Akiko Tsuraga; pianists Bertha Hope, Geri Allen, Hiromi Renee Rosnes, Shamie Royston and Kris Davis; composer, arranger and b

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The April 6 edition of Jazz Unlimited will be “The Career of Paul Chambers.”  In his career from 1954-1969, bassist Paul Chambers participated in over 360 recording sessions.  His big sound and great time made him an invaluable player.  He was unusual because he would use the bow in some of his solos.  He is best known for his long tenure with Miles Davis, the Red Garland Trio and the Wynton Kelly Trio.  In this show, Chambers will also be heard with J.J.

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, March 23 will be “A Tribute to Trebor Tichenor + New Music.”  Trebor Tichenor, St. Louis’s own ragtime music scholar and teacher, lived, as he said, a ragtime life until his recent death.  We will celebrate his life with music and interviews on the quieter side of jazz.  We will hear music from piano rolls by Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb and James Scott.  Other recording artists on the show are ragtime pianists Milton Kaye, Charlie Thompson, and Trebor Tichenor along with the St. Louis Ragtimers.  New music will feature three new CD’s from St.

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, March 16 will present “The Career of Kenny Barron.”  Born in Philadelphia in 1943, this jazz piano master began his recording career in 1960 at the age of 17 with recordings with Yusef Lateef and his brother tenor saxophonist Bill Barron.  To date, Kenny Barron has 564 recording sessions to his credit with 54 as a leader.  He had a five-year stints with Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz and recorded with just about everyone who is anyone in jazz.  In addition to work on his own projects, tonight’s show presents Kenny Barron with Regina Carter, Kevin Mahogany, Clark Te

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The Sunday, March 9 Jazz Unlimited show will be  “Live Jazz from Other New York Venues, Part 2.”  Jazz played live is a different animal from jazz recorded in the emotionally sterile confines of a studio.  The energy and emotion reflected back from an audience to the performers brings about better performances.  We conclude our survey of New York venues with smaller clubs and Lincoln Center as well as presenting music from clubs that we did not have time for on earlier shows.  The musicians feature include trumpeter Bobby Hackett with trombonist Vic Dickenson, the Art Tatum Trio, Sarah Vaug

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Jazz Unlimited for March 2, 2014 will be “Live Jazz from Other New York Venues, Part 1.”  Jazz played live is a different animal from jazz recorded in the emotionally sterile confines of a studio.  The energy and emotion reflected back from an audience to the performers brings about better performances.  We continue our survey of New York venues with smaller clubs and Lincoln Center as well as presenting music from clubs that we did not have time for on earlier shows.  We will feature duets between Dick Wellstood and Kenny Davern, Dick Hyman and Roger Kellaway and Joe Lovano and Hank Jones

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Jazz Unlimited for February 23 will be “The Guitar of Jim Hall, A Tribute to Rich McDonnell and New Music.” Jim Hall will be featured on the first hour, the “Keys and Strings Hour,” bringing you the quieter side of jazz.  Rich McDonnell, founder of the Max Jazz label died recently and we will honor him with some of recordings from the Max Jazz catalog.  The third hour will be new music for February.  Artists heard on the show will be: the Jim Hall trio, the Red Mitchell quintet, duos between Jim Hall and Pat Metheny, Bill Evans and Ron Carter and the Hampton Hawes quartet.  Music in the sec

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Jazz Unlimited on February 16 is “Live from the Village Vanguard-Part 2.”  We continue our survey of New York jazz clubs with the first of two parts on the Village Vanguard.  Max Gordon started the club in 1935 and ran it until his death in 1989.  Since then, his widow Lorraine continues to run it.  It remains the way it was when Max died.  The featured artists for this show, the Junior Mance Trio, the Joe Lovano Quartet, Chucho Valdes and his band, the John Coltrane Quartet, the Bobby Hutcherson Quartet, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie, the Bill Evans Trio, Art Pepper, the Tha

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Jazz Unlimited for February 9 is “Live from the Village Vanguard-Part 1.”  We continue our survey of New York jazz clubs with the first of two parts on the Village Vanguard.  Max Gordon started the club in 1935 and ran it until his death in 1989.  Since then, his widow Lorraine continues to run it.  It remains the way it was when Max died.  The featured artists for this show, guitarist Jim Hall, the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band, the Brad Mehldau Trio, Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Earl Hines, the Steve Kuhn Trio, the J.J.

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Jazz Unlimited for February 2, 2014 will be “Tributes to Jim Hall and Chico Hamilton + Dexter Gordon’s 90th Birthday.”  Hall and Hamilton died in late 2013 after long lives and careers.  All three artists featured tonight had their early careers in Los Angeles.  We will attempt to play music representative of their careers.  The artists featured on this show include Gerald Wiggins, Billie Holiday, Paul Desmond, the Billy Eckstine Big Band, Pat Metheny, Art Farmer, Charles Lloyd, Herbie Hancock, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Kenny Baron, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter and Woody Shaw, along with H

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Jazz Unlimited for December 26, 2014 will be “Guitars & Violins and New Music.”  Violins have been a part of jazz since the beginning.  Photographic evidence suggests that early jazz combos that had front lines of trumpet, trombone and violin or trumpet, clarinet and violin were more prevalent than those that had front lines of trumpet, trombone and clarinet.  The January “Keys and Strings Hour” will showcase groups containing violins and guitars including the Joe Venuti-Eddie Lang duo, the Stuff Smith Quintet with Oscar Peterson and Barney Kessel, the Quintet of the Hot Club of France,

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, January 19 will be “The Career of Shelly Manne.”  Drummer, bandleader, composer and club owner Shelly Manne was born in New York in 1920 and began working professionally in swing groups as early as 1939.  He soon was noticed by people like Coleman Hawkins and other giants of the period and began recording and working with them.  During World War II, Manne often jammed on 52nd Street in New York while wearing his navy uniform.  He began playing with modernists Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker by 1945 and was in the Stan Kenton and Woody Herman orchestras.  Manne

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Jazz Unlimited for January 12, 2014 will present “Live Jazz from the Five-Spot, Village Gate and Café Bohemia.”  Energy reflected back to performing artists from an up close and personal audience often brings out the best performances.  We will feature live performances from Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams, Les McCann, Stanley Turrentine, Mongo Santamaria, Kenny Dorham, Coleman Hawkins, Sir Roland Hanna, Kenny Burrell, Herbie Mann, Horace Silver, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis.

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Jazz Unlimited for January 5, 2014 will be “Live Jazz from Birdland, the Half Note and Sweet Basil.”  Energy reflected back to performing artists from an up close and personal audience often brings out the best in them.  We will feature live performances from Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Jim Hall, Clifford Brown, Lou Donaldson, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Nick Brignola, Abdullah Ibrahim, Count Basie with Sarah Vaughan, Lee Konitz, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery with Wynton Kelly, Donald Harrison and Terence Blanchard, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy with Booker Little, Paul Bley, Steve Lacy and

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Jazz Unlimited for December 29 will be  “Funky Piano Players and New Music.”  Experiencing a driving, funky sounding piano trio is one of the most exciting and joyous things in listening to jazz.  We will feature music from Les McCann, Junior Mance, Red Garland, Bobby Timmons, Gene Harris, Ramsey Lewis and Monty Alexander will be featured.  New music to be played will be from four new Mosaic sets: Earl Hines, Ella Fitzgerald and Chick Webb, Clifford Jordan Strata-East Sessions and John Carter/Bobby Bradford west coast avant-garde music.  Recordings by Marc Copland and Gary Peacock, Cooper-M

Winter Holiday Show

Dec 21, 2013
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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, December 22 will be “The Winter Holiday Show.”  Each year around the winter solstice, cultures around the celebrate the coming of longer days.  In this country, the major celebrations are Hanukah, solstice celebrations, Christmas and Kwanza.  We will feature some perennial favorites: Duke Ellington’s version of the “Nutcracker Suite,” Louis Armstrong’s reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” The Modern Jazz Quartet’s version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Count Basie’s version of “Jingle Bells” and Dexter Gordon’s version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Chris

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Jazz Unlimited for December will be "The Career of Charlie Parker.”  Saxophonist Charlie Parker is one of the most important musicians of the 20th century in any genre.  His phrasing and use of advanced harmony changed music in ways that are being still explored today.  Parker’s music was not a revolution from the swing styles of music and when playing with such players, fit elegantly into what they were doing.  His favorite “licks” or short phrases are heard everywhere, for example, in film music and bluegrass violin music.  In addition to Parker, Jay McShann, Dizzy Gillespie, Don Byas, De

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Jazz Unlimited for December 8 will be “Live Jazz from The Blue Note, Iridium, Jazz Standard and In Time Cafe.”  We continue playing live music from the jazz capital of the world with recordings made in jazz clubs, where the interaction between the audience and the players takes both to new heights.  Tonight’s show features music from Oscar Peterson, Carmen McRae, the Charles Tolliver Big Band, Monty Alexander, Conrad Herwig’s “Latin Side of…” ensembles, Kenny Barron & Charlie Haden, Von Freeman, John Scofield, the Mingus Big Band, the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio, Jacky Terrasson, Elvin

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, December 1st will be “Live Jazz from Town Hall, New York City.”  We continue playing live music from the jazz capital of the world with concerts from Town Hall that span the years 1944 to 1990.  The artists featured are Eddie Condon and His All-Stars, Louis Armstrong and the All-Stars, the Dizzy Gillespie-Charlie Parker Quintet, four pieces from a Baron Timmie Rosenkranz concert in 1945, which includes the classic “I Got Rhythm” duet of Don Byas and Slam Stewart, Mary Lou Williams’ “Zodiac Suite,” Benny Carter, Red Norvo and Teddy Wilson, Thelonious Monk, the Chic

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Jazz Unlimited Sunday, November 19 will feature" Piano Duets and New Music.” Piano duets are somewhat rare in jazz because the of fact that each piano has 88 keys and is simultaneously a solo, a rhythm and a harmony instrument.  Each player must listen carefully to the other to avoid a “train wreck” in any one of these three areas.  Only the best can do this effectively.  The first hour will feature nine duets between Chick Corea & Herbie Hancock, Tommy Flanagan & Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson & Benny Green and others.  The second and third hours will feature new music from Elliott

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Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, November 17 will be “A Tribute to Frank Wess and Live Jazz From Carnegie Hall-Part 2.”  Frank Wess, who brought the flute into the big band lexicon in 1954 with Count Basie, died October 30 at the age of 91.  We will celebrate his career and also listen to live music from Carnegie Hall that spans the years 1943 to 2005.  In addition to Wess, some of the artists featured during this show include Joe Newman, Count Basie, the Wess-Edison Orchestra, Kenny Burrell, Hank Jones, Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, John Lewis, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Woody

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Jazz Unlimited Sunday, November 10  will be “Live Jazz From Carnegie Hall-Part 1.”  While Carnegie Hall opened in 1881, jazz was not heard there until 1938, when Benny Goodman had the first jazz concert.  Since then many jazz concerts have been held there and some were recorded.  In the years since 1938, Carnegie Hall has hosted three of John Hammond’s “Spiritual to Swing” concerts with Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Big Joe Turner and Lester Young; Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts with Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Flip Phillips and Oscar P

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Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, November 3 will present some of the nearly sixty year career of valve trombonist, pianist, composer, arranger and teacher Bob Brookmeyer.  He has played with, arranged and composed for such people as Terry Gibbs, Clark Terry, the Birdland Dream Band, the Gerry Mulligan Quartet and Sextet, Stan Getz, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, the Jimmy Giuffre Three, his own New Art Orchestra as well as his own small groups.  The show will include work by such artists as pianists Roger Kellaway and Hank Jones, saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Al Cohn, Richie Kamuca, Bill Per

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Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, October 27 will feature some compositions of saxophonists Benny Golson and Sonny Rollins on the "Keys and Strings Hour."  These two jazz giants have written a number of compositions that are played by horn players, but rarely by piano players.  The quieter side of jazz will present the compositions that piano players play.  The artists playing these compositions will be Tommy Flanagan, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Grant Green with Sonny Clark, Milt Jackson with Wes Montgomery, Keith Jarrett, Phineas Newborn, Jr.

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Jazz Unlimited for October 20 will be “The Career of Drummer Lewis Nash.” Born in 1958 in Phoenix, Arizona, Nash was a professional by 1976.  He moved to New York in 1981 and has become one of the most recorded drummers in jazz, even surpassing the recordings of Art Blakey and Max Roach, according to the Tom Lord Discography.  We will present about five percent of his recorded output on Jazz Unlimited.  Nash is a drummer for all styles and seasons, being equally at home in styles that range from swing to bebop, hard bop, free bop and structured abstract improvisation.  We will feature him w

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Jazz Unlimited for October 13 will be “Classical Themes in Jazz-Part 2.” There are a lot of connections to jazz from classical music.  Most of today’s musicians are as well versed in classical music as in jazz.  Since the beginning, classical themes have crept into the jazz lexicon.  The show will feature themes by Bach, Ravel, Brahms, Lizst, Mozart, Lehar, DeFalla, Chopin, Scarlatti, Johan Strauss, Verdi, Gershwin, Vaughan-Williams, Rachmaninoff, Offenbach, Dvorak, and Ravel.  The musicians include “Hot Lips” Page, the Nat “King” Cole Trio, Art Tatum, The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Bach to t

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Jazz Unlimited  for October 6 will be “Classical Themes in Jazz.” There are a lot of connections to jazz from classical music.  Most of today’s musicians are as well versed in classical music as in jazz.  Since the beginning, classical themes have crept into the jazz lexicon.  The show will feature themes by Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, Dvorak, Ravel, Borodin and Stravinsky, among other composers.  The musicians include the John Kirby Sextet, the Nat “King” Cole Trio, Charlie Ventura, Don Byron, Duke Ellington, the Modern Jazz Quartet,

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