Jazz Unlimited | St. Louis Public Radio

Jazz Unlimited

Sundays evenings, from 9-12.

Jazz Unlimited is a unique weekly radio show covering the continuum of jazz from Louis Armstrong to Lester Bowie. Each show is scripted and is based on a theme to provide the broadest coverage of the music.

Host Dennis Owsley has been a jazz album collector, aficionado, and historian since 1958 and has seen most of the major artists in jazz in live performance. April 2018 marks his 35th anniversary presenting jazz on St. Louis Public Radio. He celebrated his 25th anniversary with a mayoral proclamation of a Dennis Owsley Day on January 24, 2008. He received the Millard S. Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award from St. Louis Public Radio in 2010 and was named a Jazz Hero of St. Louis by the Jazz Journalists Association. Jazz Unlimited won the Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis Award in the "Best Jazz Show" category six times.

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

Owsley wrote an award-winning book, City of Gabriels—The Jazz History of St. Louis 1895-1973. 
He produced a radio documentary in 1986 that led to that book.  That documentary was produced again and expanded in 2013, the second-longest music documentary in radio history. >> Listen to all of the interviews.

Please email owsleydc@umsl.edu with your suggestions, requests, or comments, including if you would like to receive a pdf version of any playlists.

Dennis Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 7, 2018 will be “Remembering Randy Weston.”  Pianist Randy Weston, famous for blending African rhythms and sensibility in his work died on September 1 at the age of 92.  We will remember him with his performances as a leader, with his sideman work and with his compositions.  Weston himself, Eric Dolphy, Booker Ervin, Abbey Lincoln, Stanley Turrentine, Cannonball Adderley, George Shearing, Kenny Burrell, Horace Parlan, Roy Brooks and Charles Mingus will perform music on this show.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for September 30, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour Plus New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour or the Quieter Side of Jazz will present some of Dizzy Gillespie’s compositions played by the Leroy Vinnegar group. Oscar Peterson, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Tommy Flanagan, Keith Jarrett, Kenny Barron, Phineas Newborn, Jr.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for September 23, 2018 will be  “Jazz Giants For September and October.”  Jazz Giants are musicians who influence the course of jazz or who are major influences on their instrument.  We will be hearing jazz played by Art Pepper, Art Tatum, Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, Oscar Pettiford, Clifford Brown, Ray Brown, Horace Silver, Gerald Wilson, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Holland, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Arthur Blythe and our own Lester Bowie and Oliver Lake.

Dennis Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for September 16, 2018 will be “The Career of Buddy Rich.”  At age eight, Buddy Rich was in vaudeville and was known as “Traps, the Drum Wonder.”  His jazz career began with the swing bands in the late ‘30’s and went through Jazz at the Philharmonic, Norman Granz and Harry James until he formed his very popular big band in 1966 that lasted until his death in 1987.  In addition to his band, we will hear Rich with Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Ventura, Flip Phillips, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson,

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for September 9, 2018 will be “The Music of Lee Morgan.”  Trumpeter Lee Morgan hit the big time in 1956 at age 18 with the Dizzy Gillespie big band and his first album as a leader.  His star burned brightly through his tenures with Art Blakey, Jackie McLean, Andrew Hill, John Coltrane and others until it was extinguished at age 33 when he was shot and killed in Slug’s Saloon by his wife.  In addition, we will hear Morgan with Jimmy Smith, Wynton Kelly, Hank Mobley, Elvin Jones, Jackie McLean, Dr.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, September 2, 2018 will be “The Career of Phil Woods.”  Alto saxophonist Phil Woods’s 61-year performing career included 30 wins as best alto saxophone in the Down Beat Readers Polls.  He led his own quintet from 1972 to 2015 and played with the big bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Oliver Nelson, Thelonious Monk and Jay McShann.  He and Benny Carter were close friends.  In addition to those already mention, Woods will be heard with Gary Burton & Joe Morello, Gene Quill, Bill Mays, George Wallington, Jim McNeely, his European Rhythm Machine, the

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, August 19, 2018 will be “Gospel Piano, Tributes to Jean Kittrell and Aretha Franklin Plus New Music.”  This week’s Jazz Unlimited show will be in three parts.  The Keys and Strings Hour will feature gospel piano with Ramsey Lewis, Les McCann, Hank Jones, Bobby Timmons, Mildred Falls with Mahalia Jackson, Gene Harris, and Johnny O’Neal in the first hour.  We will play tributes to the Jean Kittrell, who died at age 90 on October 14 and Aretha Franklin, who died at age 76 on August 16 in the second hour.  The third hour presents New Music by the Mik

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, August 19, 2018 will be “The Music of Sonny Clark.”  Pianist Sonny Clark was born in a coal-mining town near Pittsburgh.  Apparently self-taught, he began playing professionally while visiting the west coast.  He eventually moved to New York and recorded several classic Blue Note recordings before dying at age 32, a victim of the 1950’s heroin epidemic.  We will hear him with the Lighthouse All-Stars, his own trio, quintet and sextets, our own Grant Green, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Dexter Gordon, Serge Chaloff, Jackie McLean, Curtis Fuller, Buddy DeFranco

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 12 will be “The Music of Herbie Hancock.”  Jazz Master Herbie Hancock has been actively been writing, performing and recording his original music for 54 years.  His early success with Blue Note records and with Miles Davis provided a springboard for an exceptionally creative life.  He has written and performed in several different styles of music.  Born in Chicago, he was recognized as a prodigy, playing a movement the 26th Mozart Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony at age 12.  He simultaneously earned engineering and music degrees from Grinnell College.  His e

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for August 5, 2018 will be “The Turrentine Brothers.”  The Turrentine brothers, saxophonist Stanley and trumpeter Tommy were born in Pittsburgh.  They were associated mainly with the Hard Bop/Soul Jazz styles of the fifties and sixties, but Stanley had a hit recording, “Sugar,” in the 1970’s while Tommy recorded with Sun Ra in 1989.  We will their music with their own groups, the George Hudson Orchestra, Ray Brown, Gene Harris, Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Branford Marsalis & Kurt Elling, Ernie Wilkins, Freddie Hubbard, Les McCann, Max Roach & Abbey Lincoln, R

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 29, 2018 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.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 22, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour and New Music.”  Boogie Woogie and blues piano music will be heard in the first hour with Count Basie, Leroy Carr, our own Ralph Sutton playing a duet with Jay McShann, Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons and Meade “Lux” Lewis, Otis Spann, Gene Harris and Dave Burrell.  New music in the last two hours will feature selections from the Mosaic Set, “The Savory Collection 1935-1940,” a newly discovered 1963 John Coltrane recording session, the Charles Pillow Large Ensemble playing music from Miles Davis’ electric period, Chica

Africa

Jul 15, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 15, 2018 will be “Africa.”  Jazz and our American culture have roots in Africa.  We will explore the meaning of Africa and its musical heritage in America through music played and composed by American and some African jazz musicians.  The musicians are Fats Waller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Duke Ellington, Abdullah Ibrahim, the Chris McGregor Brotherhood of Breath, Dr.

Songs With Heart

Jul 8, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for will be “Songs With Heart.”  The idea of heart can mean many things.  It’s that machine in our chest that circulates our blood, but it also has symbology in many of our interactions: romantic, physical activities, giving and others.  It can also be broken in a relationship.  Hearts can also be cold or full of darkness.  Jazz Unlimited will explore these themes with Louis Armstrong, our own Jean Kittrell, Billie Holiday, the Capp-Pierce Orchestra, Snooky Young & Marshall Royal, Stan Getz, Gene Ammons, Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, Johnny Hodges, the Savoy Sulta

Alternate Takes

Jun 28, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, July 1, 2018  ill be “Alternate Takes.”   Many of our favorite jazz recordings have alternate takes recorded on the same day or even some time later by the same group, vocalist or big band.  I suspect that many of you have heard these famous tunes so much that you have memorized them.  We will hear some of these alternate takes and possibly hear why these takes were not used for the final pressing of these famous recordings.  Some of the artists featured on this show are Louis Armstrong, Charlie Christian, Art Tatum, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Ahmad Jamal, Ar

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for June 24, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour Plus New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour or the quieter side of jazz will feature pianists Fats Waller, Art Tatum, Keith Jarrett, Erroll Garner, Chick Corea, Red Garland, Mary Lou Williams, John Lewis and Sun Ra.  New music for June will feature Tucker Antell, Grant Green, the Uptown Jazz Tentette, Bruce Barth & Tomoko Ohno, the Kobe Watkins Grouptet, Aaron Schragge & Ben Monder, Phil Haynes groups “Not Fast Food” and “Free Country,” the Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble, Matt Penman and Joshua Breakstone.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for June 17, 2018 will be “The Music of Horace Silver.”   Pianist-composer and bandleader Horace Silver wrote over 160 compositions.  Over 20 of these compositions have become jazz standards.  We will hear some of these tunes played by Horace himself, George Shearing, Hank Mobley, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Jefferson, The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Keith Jarrett, Dr.

Relationships

Jun 10, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for June 10, 20218 will be “Relationships.”   Relationships are tricky things.  Most successful relationships start with strong loving families and hopefully, lessons are applied to our relationships with our neighbors, our world and our romantic partners, but sometimes things go bad.  We will explore the gamut of relationships from good to bad to the commercial.  The musicians exploring relationships on this show will be Abdullah Ibrahim, Ahmad Jamal, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Gene Harris, our own Eric Warren.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for June 3, 2018 will be “The Career of Ben Webster.”  The show will start with an interview with trombonist Steve Turre about the upcoming Jazz Edge tribute to J.J. Johnson Concert at 7:00 p.m.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 27, 2018 will be  “The Keys and Strings Hour Plus New Music.”  The “Keys and Strings Hour” will feature some Miles Davis compositions played by the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Lynne Arriale Trio, Gary Burton, two Ray Brown trios, Mary Lou Williams, Harvie Swartz and the Stanley Clarke Trio with Hiromi.

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