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 2017 marks his 34th 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 July 23, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour Featuring Gary Peacock + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour will present bassist Gary Peacock with the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio, Mark Copland, Barney Kessel, Claire Fischer, Don Pullen and Marilyn Crispell with Annette Peacock.  New music to be presented will include a trio of Jack Dejohnette, Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison, a duo of Dominique Eade and Ran Blake, the Tom Kohl Trio, the Mats Holmquist and Hyeson Hong Big Bands, Wadada Leo Smith saluting our National Parks, a trio of Carla Bley, Steve Swallo

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 16, 2017 will be “The Music of Johnny Hodges Away from Duke Ellington.”  Johnny Hodges was a major star in the Duke Ellington firmament as the alto saxophonist who played the lyrical compositions of his bandleader.  Ellington said his tone was so beautiful it brought tears to his eyes.  We will spotlight his music away from the Ellington orbit.  We will hear Hodges with his own groups and as a sideman with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Joe Thomas, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Billy Strayhorn, Jazz At the Philharmonic, Billy Taylor, Sr.

Freedom

Jul 2, 2017
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 9, 2017 will be “Freedom.”  July Fourth brings to my mind Billy Strayhorn’s Four Freedoms that I try to live by: freedom from hate, freedom from self pity, freedom from fear of doing something that would benefit someone else more than it would me and freedom from the pride that could make me feel that I was better than others.  All of the selections on this show will have the word “Freedom” in the title.  We will play music from Duke Ellington, the Jazz Crusaders, Grant Green, Max Roach, Eddie Harris, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Lennie Tristano, Lion

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sundan, June 18, 2017 will be  “The Career of Wynton Kelly.”  Pianist Wynton Kelly graced many live and studio sessions with his clean, lively lines.  He was best known as an accompanist, pushing the music of Art Pepper, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson, Art Blakey, Milt Jackson, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Abbey Lincoln to new heights.  In addition, we will hear one of his compositions played by a group with seven tubas and a rhythm section.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for June 11, 2117 will be “The Career of  Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.”   Also known as “the great Dane with the never ending name,” Ørsted Pedersen was born in 1946.  His father was a church organist.  He took piano lessons as a child, switched to bass at age 13 and made his first recordings at 14.  By 15 he was working regularly at Copenhagen’s famed Montmartre Jazzhus and by 16, toured Scandinavia with Bud Powell.  He recorded with Albert Ayler at age 17 and had a career accompanying Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon, Joe Pass, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillesp

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for June 4, 2017 will be “The Career of Lionel Hampton.”  Vibraphonist, drummer and vocalist Lionel Hampton was one of the first to bring the vibraphone into jazz as a solo instrument.  His out-sized personality kept his career going long after the swing era had faded.  We will hear him with artists as diverse as Paul Howard’s Quality Serenaders, Louis Armstrong, Nat “King” Cole, the Jim Cullum River Walk Jazz Band, Benny Goodman, Art Tatum, Buddy Rich, Dinah Washington, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Charlie Christian, Chu Berry, Oscar Peterson, Johnny Hodges and Dizzy

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited tonight for May 28, 2017 will be “Six Decades of Keys and Strings at the Vanguard + New Music.”  The venerable Village Vanguard has been the site of many outstanding recordings.  The May Keys and Strings Hour will present music recorded in every decade from the 1960’s to the 2010’s in that venue, including music by the Bobby Hutcherson Quartet, a Jim Hall Quartet and the trios of Junior Mance, Christian McBride, Bill Charlap and Fred Hersch, along with the Great Jazz Trio.  New music for May will feature George Coleman, a duo between Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith,

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 21, 2017 will be  “The Music if Bill Evans.”  Pianist Bill Evans is arguably the most influential pianist in jazz since the early 1960’s.  His elegant, impressionistic pianism and compositions will be celebrated by hearing recordings of him with his own groups, with others and by other instrumentalists and vocalists playing and singing his music.  The featured musicians, in addition to Evans, will include vocalists Johnny Hartman, Tony Bennett, Janice Borla, Karrin Allyson and Judy Niemack along with instrumentalists Tadd Dameron, Joe Pass, the Miles Davis se

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 14 will be “The Compositions of Carla Bley.” Composer, arranger and bandleader Carla Bley continues to work at age 81.  Her first compositions were recorded by the George Russell sextet.  These elegiac, sometimes sardonic and witty compositions will be played by George Russell, her own groups and big bands, Gary Burton, Jimmy Giuffre, the Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, John McLaughlin, Art Farmer & Jim Hall, Paul Bley, Orrin Evans and Tony Williams’ Lifetime.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 7, 2017 will be “The Steeplechase, Storyville and Challenge Record Labels-Part 2.” Theses Danish labels provided a haven for American jazz musicians who were not involved in jazz-rock, avant-garde or the neo-classicism of the 1970’s through the early 1990’s.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 30, 2017 will be  “Jazz Giants for March and April.”  The March and April Jazz Giants show features musicians who have changed the way we listen to jazz.  The musicians heard on the show will be Bix Beiderbecke, Billie Holiday Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Ben Webster, Thad Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Carmen McRae, Gary Burton, Nat “King Cole, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Johnny Griffin, Red Norvo, Randy Weston, Jim Hall, Paul Chambers, Charles Tolliver, Sarah Vaughan, Lennie Tristano, George Adams, Joe Henderson, Miles Davis, Michael Brecker, Char

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 23, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Hoagy Carmichael Tunes) and New Music.  The music will be played by: Marian McPartland, Ray Brown, Ray Bryant, Jim Hall & Charlie Haden, Dave Brubeck, Red Garland, Gene Harris, the SFJazz Collective, Benny Green, Kelvyn Bell, Judy Niemack, Charlie Watts & the Danish Radio Big Band, Mike McGinnis, Adam Schneidt and Antonio Adolpho.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the artists heard on this show.

The Archive of this show will be available until the morning of may 1, 2017.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 16, 2017 will be “The Compositions of Duke Ellington: Collaborations with Billy Strayhorn.”  Duke Ellington and his writing partner, Billy Strayhorn were so closely attuned that on some compositions, no one could tell who wrote what.  We will have selections from this collaboration by the Ellington Orchestra, Scott Amendola & Charlie Hunter, Stefon Harris, Kenny Baron & Dave Holland, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Clark Terry & Ernie Wilkins, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Tommy Flanagan & Jaki Byard, Cleo Laine, The Palmetto All-Stars, Art F

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 9, 2017 will be “The Compositions of Charles Mingus.”  Bassist Charles Mingus left us with many interesting and challenging compositions.  They will be played by the composer himself, vocalists Mark Murphy, Judy Niemack and Kevin Mahogany, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the Mingus Big Band, Maceo Parker, Dave Brubeck, Junko Onishi, the George Adams/Don Pullen Quartet and Hal Wilner.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of he artists heard on this show.

The Audio Archive of this show will be available until the morning  of April 17, 2017.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 2, 2017 is “Jazz From London-Part 2.”  A lot of exciting jazz was recorded in London by visiting American and other jazz musicians including British musicians and expatriates from other countries.  We will present music from Duke Ellington’s Third Sacred Concert, John McLaughlin, Keith Jarrett and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Oscar Peterson & Dizzy Gillespie, Cleo Laine, Quadrant, Stan Getz.

Jazz Unlimited for March 26, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour” or the quieter side of jazz will play piano music from the Storyville and Steeplechase with Mary Lou Williams, Freddie Redd, Duke Jordan, Doug Raney, Albert Dailey, Horace Parlan and Joe Bonner.  New music for March will feature Lisa Parrott, an Australian saxophonist, piano duets between Bruno Canino & Enrico Pieranunzi, vocalist Virginia Schenck in a tribute to Abbey Lincoln, the Idrees Sulieman Quartet recorded in Tangier, the Mingus Big Band, the Mingus Dynasty.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 19, 2017 is “The Steeplechase, Storyville and Challenge Labels”  Since the early 1970’s, the Danish labels Steeplechase, Storyville and Challenge have recorded many great American jazz musicians who are not well recorded in this country because they were not jazz-rock fusioneers or “Young Lions.”  We will play music by Buddy Tate, Kenny Drew, the New Jungle Orchestra, Stan Getz, The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Joe Bonner, Johnny Griffin, Clark Terry, Ernie Wilkins, Jeanfrancois Prins, Archie Shepp & Horace Parlan, Joe Albany, Ronnie Cuber, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 12, 2017 will be “The Repertory of Brown-Roach, Incorporated.”  One of the greatest small groups in jazz history, Brown-Roach, Incorporated, was formed in 1954 by Clifford Brown and Max Roach.  It lasted only two years until Brown’s young life was cut short in a traffic accident.  We will hear the group on two selections and also hear their recorded repertory played by Dinah Washington, Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald, Thad Jones, Ron Jefferson, Joe Henderson & the Wynton Kelly Trio, Joe Lovano, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Karrin Allyson, Wes Montgomery, Qu

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 5, 2017 will be “The Compositions of Hoagy Carmichael.”  Songwriter-pianist-singer Hoagy Carmichael was an important figure in the jazz scene of the 1920’s and 1930’s and some of his compositions are still used today.  We will celebrate his compositions with music played by Duke Ellington, Sidney Bechet & Muggsy Spanier, the Ray Brown Trio, Peck Kelly, Bill Charlap, Oscar Peterson, Louis Armstrong & Jack Teagarden, the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Curtis Fuller, Dave Brubeck, the Jeff Hamilton Trio, George Adams, Ahmad Jamal, Carmell Jones, Shei

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for February 26, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour,” or the quieter side of jazz will feature Sonny Rollins compositions played by Joe Pass, Junko Onishi, Grant Green & Sonny Clark, Phineas Newborn, Jessica Williams, Tommy Flanagan, Fred Hersch and Mal Waldron.  New music will feature a new release of a 1980 concert with Dizzy Gillespie and some bebop cohorts, Pedrito Martinez, the Ben Marklee Big Band playing Cedar Walton compositions, our own Fred Tompkins, Branford Marsalis & Kurt Elling, Jeremy Udden, Theo Bl

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for February 19, 2017 will be “Americans in Paris-Part 3.”  Many outstanding recordings with Americans were made in Paris beginning in 1937 and continuing up to today with such musicians as Sidney Bechet, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Stitt, Roy Eldridge, Miles Davis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Don Byas & Bud Powell, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Randy Weston, Eddy Louiss, Patricia Barber, Roy Haynes, Keith Jarrett, Roswell Rudd, Steve Lacy, the World Saxophone Quartet, Ornette Coleman and Prime Time and John Coltrane.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for February 12, 2017 will be “Americans in Paris-Part 2.”  Many outstanding recordings with Americans were made in Paris beginning in 1937 and continuing up to today with such musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Jay McShann, Randy Weston, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Gerald Clayton, Albert Ayler and our own Black Artists Group.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the artists heard on this show.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for  February 5, 2017 will be “Americans in Paris-Part 1.”  Paris has always been welcoming to American jazz musicians.  Many outstanding recordings with Americans have been made there starting in 1937 with recordings of visiting Americans with Django Reinhardt and Stephanne Grapelli and continuing with Mary Lou Williams, the Clifford Brown Big Band, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie with Sarah Vaughan, the Duke Ellington Violin Summit & band, Gary Burton, Dexter Gordon and Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Oscar Peterson, Thelonious Monk, Circle, Larry Young, the Quincy Jone

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, January 29, 2016 will be “Jazz Giants Born in January and February.”  Jazz Giants are those musicians whose individuality makes them both instantly recognizable by their sound and revered for their inspiring playing. Among these giants are Henry "Red" Allen, Mildred Bailey, Frank Butler, Big Sid Catlett, Kenny Clarke, Curtis Counce, Tadd Dameron, Buddy DeFranco, Roy Eldridge, Jimmy Forrest, Stan Getz, Benny Golson, Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, J. J. Johnson, James P.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for January 22, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The first hour of Jazz Unlimited will feature some compositions and lyrics of Alec Wilder played by pianists Clarence Profit, Marian McPartland, Keith Jarrett, Rene Rosnes, George Shearing and Bill Charlap and sung by Carline Ray and Meredith D’Ambrosio.  New music will be heard in the second hour and will feature new albums by our own Pat Joyce and Ptah Williams along with saxophonist Bruce Williams, the Mamu Trio from Belgium, Freddie Redd, John Moulder, Clay Gibberson, Jane Bunnett &a

Jazz From London

Jan 15, 2017
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for January 15, 2017 will be “Jazz From London.”  Until 1950, American jazz groups were banned from working in England by the British Musicians Union.  Since then, visiting American and other expatriate jazz musicians and groups have performed regularly in Britain.  We will hear some of those recordings.  The artists heard on this show will be Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson, Don Byas, Fats Waller, Mary Lou Williams, the South African Chris McGregor and his Brotherhood of Breath, Jazz at the Philharmonic, Buddy Rich, Gene Harris, Chick

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for SUnday, January 8, 2017 will be “With Mallets Aforethought.”  Mallet instruments can be used in jazz for melody, harmony or percussion.  They also add a cooler sensibility to a performance.  We will present 24 mallet players in various ensembles ranging from trios to big bands and with vocalists.  These mallet players are:  Red Norvo, Lionel Hampton, Marjorie Hyams, Terry Gibbs, Hagood Hardy, David Friedman, Roy Ayers, Warren Chaisson, Gary Burton, Emil Richards, Victor Feldman, Joe Locke, Bobby Hutcherson, Stefon Harris, Peter Schlamb, Steve Nelson, Bryan Carrot

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, January 1, 2017 will be “New Year’s Eve and Its Aftermath.”  New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration around the world and intoxicants are used very liberally.  New Year’s Day finds more of the population than usual suffering the effects of over-indulgence.  Music appropriate to this thought will be presented by the following artists: Billie Holiday, Woody Herman, Johnny Hodges, Erroll Garner, Joe Henderson & the Wynton Kelly Trio, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, “Groove” Holmes & Gene Ammons, Gene Harris, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Dinah W

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for December 25, 2016 will be “Meditations on Peace and Quiet.”  This year has been loud, stressful and certainly not peaceable.  Some people are even seeking counseling after what we as a nation have been through.  This time of year is for family and friends coming together to celebrate the several traditions of the season and hopefully to heal our selves.   The meditations will be played by Stanley Cowell, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Charlie Haden & Hank Jones, Art Pepper, James P.

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