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.

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 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.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 20, 2018 will be “The Career of Buster Williams.”  The Penguin Guide called him, “one of the most important sidemen in jazz.”  Bassist Buster Williams has had a long career that started in 1960 and continues up to today.  He has played with Mary Lou Williams, Stanley Turrentine, the Gene Ammons-Sonny Stitt Quintet, Albert Dailey, Abdullah Ibrahim, Herbie Hancock, Helen Merrill & Gil Evans, Bobby Hutcherson, the Jazz Crusaders, Sharon Freeman and French horns, the Great Jazz Trio, Sarah Vaughan, Sphere, the Mary Lou Williams Collective, Geri Allen, McCoy T

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 13, 2018 will be “The Career of Billy Higgins.”  A drummer who played for musicians with widely divergent styles, an always smiling Billy Higgins lifted the bandstand for musicians as diverse as Stan Getz and Cal Tjader, Paul Horn, Thelonious Monk, Teddy Edwards, Milt Jackson, Lee Morgan, Pat Metheny, Abbey Lincoln, John Coltrane, Geoff Keezer, David Murray, Pat Martino, Junko Onishi, Bertha Hope, Ornette Coleman, Bobby Hutcherson, Mal Waldron, Charles Lloyd, Clifford Jordan, and Sun Ra during his 44-year performing career.

Dennis Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 6, 2018 will be “The Music of Art Pepper.”  Born in California to violent alcoholic parents, alto saxophonist Art Pepper was not only one of the greatest players in jazz on his horn, but also one of it’s most tragic figures because of his need to self-medicate himself to escape the horrors of his childhood.  As a result of this, Pepper was incarcerated four times between 1951 and 1966.  He had two careers, the first before 1962 and the second after treatment with methadone, drug treatment at Synanon and his marriage to his third wife Laurie.  His second caree

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, April 29, 2018 will be “Grammy Winners in My Collection-Part 4.”  In it’s early days, the jazz Grammy Awards were not awarded for great music, but by the popularity of the musicians and the Hollywood-Centric voters.  Great music began to creep in by the late 1960’s.  We will play selections from the 80 Grammy winning jazz recordings in my collection from 1959 to the present.  In all of the Jazz Grammys, there is no Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out,” not one Blue Note label or Prestige label 1960’s ja

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 22, 2018 will be “New Music Plus A Tribute to Cecil Taylor.”  It will mark my 35th Anniversary of presenting jazz on St.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, April 15, 2018 will be “Grammy Winners in My Collection-Part 3.”  In it’s early days, the jazz Grammy Awards were not awarded for great music, but by the popularity of the musicians and the Hollywood-Centric voters.  Great music began to creep in by the late 1960’s.  We will play selections from the 80 Grammy winning jazz recordings in my collection from 1959 to the present.  In all of the Jazz Grammys, there is no Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out,” not one Blue Note label or Prestige label 1960’s ja

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 8, 2018 will be “Grammy Winners in My Collection-Part 2.”  In it’s early days, the jazz Grammy Awards were not awarded for great music, but by the popularity of the musicians and the Hollywood-Centric voters.  Great music began to creep in by the late 1960’s.  We will play selections from the 80 Grammy winning jazz recordings in my collection from 1959 to the present.  In all of the Jazz Grammys, there is no Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out,” not one Blue Note label or Prestige label 1960’s jazz classi

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 1, 2018 will be “Grammy Winners in My Collection-Part 1.”  In it’s early days, the jazz Grammy Awards were not awarded for great music, but by the popularity of the musicians and the Hollywood-Centric voters.  Great music began to creep in by the late 1960’s.  We will play selections from the 80 Grammy winning jazz recordings in my collection from 1959 to the present.  In all of the Jazz Grammys, there is no Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out,” not one Blue Note label or Prestige label 1960’s jazz classi

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