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 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

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for  March 25, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour Plus New Music.”  Jazz Unlimited is still not finished with the music of Bill Evans, so there will be more of it in the “Keys and Strings Hour,” played by Evans himself, Joe Pass and Toots Thielemans.  In addition, the last two hours of the show will feature new music, including a new CD by St.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 18, 2018 is “The Music of Bill Evans.”  Writer Gene Lees described the life of pianist Bill Evans’ as a long slow suicide.  Evans’ piano playing influenced nearly all pianists from the mid-1950’s until today.  We will hear only a small fraction of his beautiful music on Jazz Unlimited, including music with overdubbed solo piano, the Tadd Dameron Big Band, the Joe Pass Quartet, Tony Bennett, Chick Corea & Hiromi, the Kronos Quartet, the Miles Davis Sextet, Shirley Horn, the Gunther Schuller Orchestra, George Russell, Cannonball Adderley, Oliver

Music I Grew Up With

Mar 11, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 11, 2018 is “Music I Grew Up With.”  I began following jazz in the late 1950’s and during this time started my collection, which is all-digital and contains over 53,000 songs.  We will play only a small amount of the music that I heard during this time.  It will include Miles Davis & John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin and the Big Soul Band, Grant Green, Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams, Lockjaw Davis & Johnny Griffin, Stanley Turrentine & Les McCann, Ray Bryant, Etta Jones, Groove Holmes & Gene Ammons, the Jazz Crusaders, Bobby Hutcherson, Ray Char

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 4, 2018 will be “The Career of Gene Harris.”  Pianist Gene Harris had two careers.  The first was from 1966 to 1976 with “The Three Sounds,” which was followed by semi-retirement in Boise, Idaho.  Ray Brown rediscovered him in 1983.  His joyous career continued until his heath in 2000.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for February 25, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Oscar) Plus New Music.”   The “Keys and Strings Hour will present performances by Oscar Peterson plus four of his compositions played by Makoto Ozone, Rene Rosnes & Bill Charlap, Ramsey Lewis and Monty Alexander.  The New Music Segment for February in the last two hours will feather music by Alicia Olatuja, Cyrus Chestnut, Peter Sommer, Mike Vaax & Ron Romm, James Hall. Craig Fraedrich.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, February 18, 2018 will be “The Career of Horace Parlan.”  Pianist Horace Parlan was born in Pittsburgh in 1931. After working in New York as an in-demand musician, he became a permanent resident of Denmark in 1973.  He is best known for his work with Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp and Stanley Turrentine.  In addition, he will be heard with “Lockjaw” Davis & Johnny Griffin, Clark Terry & Ernie Wilkins, Dexter Gordon, “Rahsaan” Roland Kirk, Chris Woods, Tubby Hayes and his own groups.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for February 11, 2017 will be “The Career of Cecil McBee.”  Bassist extraordinaire Cecil McBee has been a force in jazz for 58 years.  He has contributed heavily to the music of Andrew Hill, Sam Rivers, Jackie McLean, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Woody Shaw Alice Coltrane, Vanessa Rubin, McCoy Tyner, Yusef Lateef, George Adams, Saxophone Summit, The Leaders, Charles Tolliver, Grachan Moncur III, Chico Freeman and The Leaders Trio.  He is currently a member of The Cookers and teaches at the New England Conservatory.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Please join me tonight on Jazz Unlimited from nine p.m. to midnight on St.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for January 28, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The “Keys and Strings Hour” will visit the Maybeck Recital Hall for piano solos by Jaki Byard, Gene Harris, Monty Alexander, our own John Hicks and James Williams.  In addition, there will be duets between Ralph Sutton & Dick Hyman, Roger Kellaway & Red Mitchell  and Dave McKenna & Grey Sargent.  We will also hear new music from our own St.

The Jones Brothers

Jan 21, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited Sunday for Sunday, January 21, 2018 will be “The Jones Brothers.”  Raised in Pontiac Michigan, pianist Hank Jones and his brothers, trumpeter and composer Thad Jones and drummer Elvin Jones have each been a major force in jazz since Hank’s 1944 arrival in New York until his death in 2010.  We sill hear the brothers featured with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, John Coltrane, Ruth Brown, Kenny Burrell, Joe Lovano, Joe Henderson, Johnny Hartman, the Great Jazz Trio, Cannonball Adderley, Larry Young, Tommy Flanagan, Count Basie, Charlie Haden, various Hank Jones Tri

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday January 14, 2018 will be “Musicians Named Williams.”  Williams is the third most common surname in this country.  Jazz musicians names Williams have made significant contributions to jazz history.  We will feature music by Clarence Williams, Count Basie with Claude Williams, Sidney Bechet with Johnny Williams, Sandy Williams, Cootie Williams, Rudy Williams, Joe Williams, Mary Lou Williams, Buddy Tate with Jackie Williams, The Jazztet with Tommy Williams, our own Terry Williams, Jimmy Williams, Ptah Williams, Billy Williams, Chauncey Williams, Todd Williams

The Bebop Hot House

Jan 6, 2018

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, January 7, 2018 will be “The Bebop Hot House.”  The bebop style, which flowered in the hot house of the mid 1940’s burst on the scene with harmony, velocity and virtuosity never heard in jazz.  We will feature music with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Lionel Hampton, Jay McShann, Cab Calloway, Charlie Christian, Lucky Millinder, Don Byas, Billy Eckstine, Coleman Hawkins, Tiny Grimes, Boyd Raeburn, Sir Charles Thompson, Woody Herman, Fats Navarro, Red Norvo, Milt Jackson, J.J.

Pages