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 2013 marks his 30th anniversary presenting jazz on St. Louis Public Radio. 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. >> See his photographs.

Owsley wrote an award-winning book, City of Gabriels—The Jazz History of St. Louis 1895-1973.

Jazz Unlimited won the Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis Award in the "Best Jazz Show" category six out of the past eight years. He produced a radio documentary in 1986 that led to that book.  That documentary will be produced again and expanded during all of April and part of May 2013.

Owsley wrote an article for St. Louis Magazine about John Coltrane: Dennis Owsley on Watching Coltrane Play...

Please email jazz@stlpublicradio.org with your suggestions, requests, or comments.

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Jazz Unlimited
10:02 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Keys and Strings Hour+Tributes to Paul Horn, Frankie Dunlop and Joe Sample+New Music

Ahmad Jamal-2001
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The October 26 Jazz Unlimited will be in three parts.

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Jazz Unlimited
9:59 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Lennis Tristano and His Students

Brad Mehldau-2001
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 19 will be  “Lennie Tristano and His Students.”  Lennie Tristano was one of the first teachers of methods of jazz improvisation.  His piano playing was characterized by dense, emotionally packed and sometimes dissonant sounds.  Tristano's teaching methods recruited students like saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, guitarist Billy Bauer, and pianist Sal Mosca, all of whom will be heard on this show.  Konitz and Marsh are two of the most cliche-free improvisers in jazz.

The Slide Show contains images of three of the musicians heard on this show.

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Jazz Unlimited
8:11 am
Sun October 12, 2014

The Music Of Thelonious Monk

Kenny Barron-2010
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The September 12 Jazz Unlimited show will present “The Music of Thelonious Monk.”  By his early teens, Thelonious Monk was a promising classical pianist.  However, he left this music for jazz because of the freedom of expression it brought him.  This show will present his idiosyncratic piano playing along with 22 of his compositions, all of which are played today by many musicians.  He will be heard with big bands, piano trios and his own quartet.  His music will also be played and sung by others such as the Monk’s Music Trio, The Pocket Brass Band, Danilo Perez, Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln

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Jazz Unlimited
10:05 am
Sat October 4, 2014

The Music of Dizzy Gillespie

Ray Brown-1987
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, October 5 will be  “The Music of Dizzy Gillespie.”  Trumpeter, raconteur, composer and sometime vocalist John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was one of the founding fathers of the jazz style known as bebop, a style whose variants remain the main jazz style today.  Bebop influenced many other music genres, including film scoring and bluegrass.  Dizzy also was instrumental in bringing Latin rhythms into jazz.  We will play music recorded between the years 1939 and 1987, along with some of his compositions played by others.  In addition to Gillespie, Woody Herman, Gonzalo R

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Jazz Unlimited
8:08 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Keys and Strings Hour/New Music

Hiromi-2011
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for September 28 will be “Keys and Strings Hour/New Music.”  Piano fireworks and great beauty abound when we present new music from four of the greatest pianists in current jazz.  Chick Corea, Hiromi, Lynne Arriale and Keith Jarrett will be presented in solo, piano duet, piano bass duo and piano trio configurations on the “Keys and Strings Hour.”  The new music segment will feature trumpeter Sean Jones, vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, saxophonist Azar Lawrence, the Dave Liebman Big Band, pianist Kenny Werner, Arturo O’Farril and his orchestra, th

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Jazz Unlimited
1:18 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

The Music Of John Coltrane

McCoy Tyner-1999
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for September 21 will be “The Music of John Coltrane.”  Saxophonist John Coltrane had the most formidable technique in jazz history.  His influence was so strong that for decades after his death, many saxophonists would base their work on just a six month period of his development.  This show will present music that Coltrane recorded and composed after his spiritual awakening in 1957 that was part of his recovery from heroin use.  Coltrane will be featured with his classic quartet, his quintet with Eric Dolphy, the Africa/Brass big band and with vocalist Johnny Hartman.  Play

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Jazz Unlimited
10:25 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Remembering Charlie Haden

Hank Jones-2987
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, September 14 will be “Remembering Charlie Haden.”  Bassist Charlie Haden was born in Shenandoah, Iowa in 1937 and was raised on a farm.  His family members were musicians who played country and folk music and were on the radio with their own show.  Haden began singing with the group by the age of two and continued until the age of 15 when he contracted polio, turning to bass when he could no longer sing.  He heard classical bass on the radio and became interested in jazz.  He turned down a scholarship to Oberlin College because they had no jazz program.  Charlie m

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Jazz Unlimited
12:00 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 10: The Late 2000's And Current Times

Rob & Mike Silverman-2011
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Sunday, September 7 Jazz Unlimited show will be “The Jazz History of St. Louis-Part 10: The Late 2000’s and Current Times.”  Even during the Great Recession, Jazz at the Bistro thrived, bringing in nationally known groups and giving work to local St. Jazz musicians.  Recordings kept being made and both Kim Portnoy and Paul DeMarinis included poetry in their latest recordings.  Dixieland jazz continued to be heard at St. Louis Jazz Club meetings and occasionally at the Sheldon.  Music on this show will be from The St.

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Jazz Unlimited
12:00 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 9: The Early 2000's

Tom Byrne-2002
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Jazz Unlimited Sunday, August 31, will be the “Jazz History of St. Louis-Part 9: The Early 2000’s.”  Even though 9/11 put fear into the nation, the St. Louis jazz scene continued to revive until the Great Recession that started in 2007.  After that, gigs were few and far between for several years.  Jazz at the Bistro became one of the great jazz clubs in the world.  The Sheldon continued to bring local and national groups into St. Louis.  The City Bank St. Louis Jazz Festival was in Shaw Park from 2001 to 2008.  Bill Becker’s Victoria Company continued to document St.

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Jazz Unlimited
12:00 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 8: The 1990s-Rebuilding The Scene

Asa Harris-2002
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, August 24 will be  “The Jazz History of St. Louis-Part 8: The 1990s-Rebuilding the Scene.”  The 1990’s were a period of rebuilding.  The jazz studies programs at Webster University and SIU-E were firmly entrenched.

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