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 March 10, Jazz Unlimited will be devoted to an examination of tunes about money. Money is what fuels St. Louis Public Radio. Some of the srtists to be heard to night include Muggsy Sprecher recorded live at the Silver Dollar Club on Gaslight Square, Ahmad Jamal, J.J. Johnson, Count Basie with Buddy DeFranco, Art Tatum, Phil Woods, Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Jay McShann and the World Saxophone Quartet. Check out my photos of some of the artists heard on the show. Here...

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On the March 3. 2013 Jazz Unlimited Show, we will hear musicians who were born or nurtured early in their careers in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is know as a city that sends great pianists out into the world of jazz. Many of these musicians go through the Westinghouse High School music program. Some of the Pittsburgers heard on tonight tonight's show include pianists Earl Hines, Dodo Marmarosa, Erroll Garner, Billy Strayhorn, Sonny Clark, Mary Lou Williams and Ahmad Jamal, trumpeters Roy Eldridge...

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On February 4, our feature The Quieter Side of Jazz will have music by pianists Elmo Hope, Herbie Nichols, and Jay McShann and drummers Kenny Clarke, Frank Butler and Max Roach. The second hour will consist of an interview with music with Marc Myers, author of the book, "Why Jazz Happened" (University of California Press). Myers discusses the technological, business and social currents that made jazz what it became in the 1940's through the late 1960's. The final hour of the show will feature...

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Some jazz greats have major birthdays in February. The February Jazz Unlimited show will include reed players John Handy, Buddy DeFranco, Harold Land and Dexter Gordon and many others. In addition we will have a tribute to jazz great Donald Byrd, who passed away February 4. Check out my photos of some of the musicians heard on tonight's show. Playlist Due to recording rights, the audio for this show has been removed. Audio is posted for two weeks after a show airs. Here is a video from the...

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On the Sunday, February 10 Jazz Unlimited, we continue our series on urban centers that have brought great musicians to jazz by having teachers and institutions that bring them into the music at an early age. The Jazz Cities series will feature the second part on musicians born in or nurtured early in their careers in Chicago. Some of the musicians and groups featured will be blues pianist Jimmy Yancey, pianist Joe Sullivan, cornetist Muggsy Spanier, the Benny Goodman quartet with Lionel...

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On the Sunday, February 3 Jazz Unlimited, we continue our series on urban centers that have brought great musicians to jazz by having teachers and institutions that bring them into the music at an early age. The Jazz Cities series will feature musicians born in or nurtured early in their careers in Chicago. Some of the musicians include Joe "King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, Earl Hines, Nat "King" Cole, Denny Zeitlin, Johnny Griffin, Junior Mance, Eddie Harris,...

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Jazz musicians occasionally use classical music themes for improvisation. On the January 28, 2013 edition of Jazz Unlimited, the first hour will have music by Bach, Villa Lobos, Mozart, Pachelbel, Rachmaninov, Dvorak and Rodrigo played without horns. The second hours will present new music with Dizzy Gillespie, Dena DeRose, Art Pepper, Marcus Roberts, Hal Russell and others. Playlist Due to music copyright restrictions, the music from this show is no longer available. Music is posted for two...

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The January 20 Jazz Unlimited show will present musicians who have major birthdays. Most have passed on, while some are still going strong in their careers. The musicians and their ages are as follows: vibists Milt Jackson (90) and Gary Burton (70), trumpeters Henry "Red" Allen (105) and "Hot Lips" Page (105) , guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli (85), reed players Haywood Henry (100) and Billy Harper (70), violinist Stephane Grappelli (105), bassists Steve Gilmore (70) and Curtis Counce (90), and...

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The Jazz Unlimited show for January 13 is part of a series on listening to musicians who were born or nurtured in specific urban centers. This is the second of two parts on Detroit and its environs. On tonight's show the featured musicians include pianists Johnny O'Neal, Ross Tompkins, Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Carlos McKinney and Geri Allen, trumpeter and composer/arranger Thad Jones, saxophonists, Wardell Gray, Billy Mitchell, Pepper Adams and Hal Russell, drummers Louis Hayes, Alvester...

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The Jazz Unlimited show for January 6 will begin a series on listening to musicians who were born or nurtured in specific urban centers. This is the first of two parts on Detroit and its environs. On tonight's show the featured musicians include guitarist Kenny Burrell. pianists Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Hank Jones, Sir Roland Hanna, Alice Coltrane and Kirk Lightsey, trumpeters Donald Byrd and Dwight Adams, trombonists Frank Rosolino and Curtis Fuller, saxophonists Lucky Thompson and...

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Playlist On the December 30, 2012 Jazz Unlimited show, we present "Jazz Giants for November and December." These are those musicians who have made exceptional contributions to jazz. Our Jazz Giants show will present music by Serge Chaloff, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Phil Woods, Bob Brookmeyer, Coleman Hawkins, Jimmy Smith, Joe Williams, John Hicks, Anita O'Day, Nat Adderley, Wynton Kelly, Wes Montgomery, Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Tony Williams, Jimmy Knepper, Lester Bowie and Matthew Shipp....

On the Sunday, December 23 edition of Jazz Unlimited, we celebrate the return of the sunlight and some of the celebrations around the Winter Solstice. Specifically, the music will reflect the Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanza traditions. The artists on the show include Pieces of Eight with Debby Lennon, Herbie Mann, Jess Stacy, Don Byron, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Randy Weston, The Jim McNeely Tentette, Count Basie, John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy, Duke Ellington, The Kronos Quartet...

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Due to music recording copyright laws, the music from this show is no longer available. Music is posted for two weeks after a show airs. The Jazz Unlimited show for December 16, 2012 will have a tribute to the late pianist, composer Dave Brubeck in the first hour and "Jazz from Left Coast Clubs, Part 5" in the second and third hours. The Brubeck Tribute will include live versions of "Blue Rhondo A La Turk" and "Take 5," along with collaborations with Gerry Mulligan and Louis Armstrong and a...

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Due to music copyright restrictions, the music from this show is no longer available. Music is posted for two weeks after a show airs. Playlist The December 9, 2012 Jazz Unlimited Show will spotlight historical jazz artists with major birthdays in December. These musicians are: saxophonists Jimmy Lyons (80), Cecil Payne (90), Gene Quill (85) and Joe Farrell (75); pianists Andy LaVerne (70) and Milcho Leviev (75); trumpeter Donald Byrd (80), bassists Bob Cranshaw (80) and Bill Crow (85); St....

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On December 2, 2012, our series on jazz recorded in left coast clubs continues with part four. The featured artists will be Lester Young, Oscar Peterson, Joe Williams, Chet Baker, Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Haden, The Capp-Pierce Orchestra with Ernie Andrews, The Chico Hamilton Quintet, Les McCann, Ltd., the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, The Jazz Crusaders, the Don Ellis Orchestra, Nat Adderley, Joe Henderson, Bill Evans, Joe Zawinul, Weather Report and Max Roach. Featured clubs...

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On November 25, 2012, we will play something unusual. String quartets in jazz are usually reading ensembles doing transcriptions or supporting soloists. A few do improvise. The Keys and Strings Hour feature on string quartets will feature the Kronos Quartet, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Beaux Arts String Quartet, and the Zapolski String Quartet, along with soloists Jim Hall (guitar) and the Modern Jazz Quartet. The second and third hours of Jazz Unlimited will feature new music by...

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On Sunday, November 18, Jazz Unlimited presents "Jazz from Clubs on the Left Coast-Part 3" with music mainly from the Los Angeles area. Much of the music was recorded at The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach. Such Artists as the Lighthouse All-Stars, Cannonball Adderley, Curtis Amy, the Jazz Crusaders, the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey with Keith Jarrett, Gene Harris and the Three Sounds, Joe Henderson and Elvin Jones. The Renaissance Coffee House in...

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The Sunday November 11 Jazz Unlimited show features the following jazz artists who have major birthdays in July, They are: bassist Howard Rumsey (95), pianists Joe Turner (105), Ralph Sutton (90), Teddy Wilson (100), Willie "The Lion" Smith (115), Dick Wellstood (85) and Paul Bley (80), vocalist-pianist Mose Allison (85), vocalist Chris Connor (85) trombonist Jimmy Knepper (85), saxophonist Gigi Gryce (85), drummer George Wettling (105) and guitarist Ed Bickert (80). Musical highlights range...

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On Sunday, November 4, Jazz Unlimited will present part 4 of our series on frequently recorded jazz originals. The time period of the recordings spans 80 years from 1926 to 2006. Some of the music includes Benny Moten's "South," the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's "Tiger Rag," Duke Ellington's "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart," Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge," Nat Adderley's "Work Song," and Miles Davis's "Milestones." Photos of some of the artists heard on this show can be found on the...

The Left Coast over the years has been the host to many great jazz clubs. The October 21 show presents jazz recorded in clubs in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and Seattle. Some of the clubs are The Jazz Workshop, Yoshi's, Keystone Corner and the Blackhawk in the San Francisco Bay area and Jazz Alley and The Penthouse in Seattle. We feature such musicians as the Ray Brown Trio, the Yerba Buena Jazz Band, Shelly Manne, Cannonball Adderley, Thelonious Monk, Henry Threadgill, John Coltrane...

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On Sunday, October 28, the Jazz Unlimited Keys and Strings Hour will present music by 11 of my favorite jazz singers accompanied by groups without horns. The singers are Patricia Barber, Betty Carter, Kurt Elling, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hartman, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Judy Niemack, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams and Cassandra Wilson. The second and third hours of Jazz Unlimited will present music by some of the real heavyweights in current and past music: Kurt Elling, Keith Jarrett, Joe...

Jazz and Money

Oct 19, 2012

Money makes the world go 'round. This episode of Jazz Unlimited will feature Duke Ellington, Muggsy Sprecher, Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and others with tunes about money. Your financial support for St. Louis Public Radio helps keep Jazz Unlimited on the air. We hope that you are contributing during the Fall Membership Campaign. Thanks to all who have contributed so far. Due to copyright restrictions, the audio from this show is no longer available. Audio links are available...

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