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.

Party Time

Jan 1, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for December 31, 2017 is “Party Time.”  New Year’s eve is always a time of parties celebrating the end of the year and the coming of the New Year.  The parties range from sedate to out out of control with people imbibing too much.  We will celebrate the New Year with party music to fit the occasion and will start one hour later due to the symphony broadcast.  Music by Bluesiana Triangle, Ramsey Lewis, Dinah Washington, Monty Alexander, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Cassandra Wilson, Jimmy Smith, Gene Ammons and Ray Charles.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Christmas Eve, 2017 will be “The Winter Holiday Show.”  A number of traditions are celebrated each December in this country.  All of them have light from candles to light from the sun as an important part of the celebrations.  We will celebrate Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas and Kwanzaa with appropriate music on Jazz Unlimited on Christmas Eve.  Helping us celebrate this joyous time will be Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Haden, Hank Jones, the Buck Clayton Big Band, Keith Jarrett, Art Pepper, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stanley Cowell, The Toshiko Akiyoshi

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for December 17, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Ornette Coleman Compositions) + New Music.” Saxophonist, composer Ornette Coleman was one of the great writers of short melodies in all of jazz history.  Jazz Unlimited’s “Keys and Strings Hour” will present seven of these gems played by pianists Frank Kimbrough, Hampton Hawes, Bobo Stenson and Paul Bley.  Guitarists Pat Metheny and Jeanfrancois Prins and the Modern Jazz Quartet will also be heard.  The second and third hours of the show will have new music presented by our own Kent Miller, Paul Gaill

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for December 10, 2017 will be “The Career of Don Pullen.”  Pianist/organist Don Pullen was born in Roanoke, Virginia on Christmas Day, 1941.  He was one of the more imaginative players in jazz from 1973 until his death from cancer in 1995.  He co-led the Don Pullen-George Adams quartet, one of the great jazz groups of the 1980’s and then explored connections between jazz, African and Brazilian music in the 1990’s.  He will be heard with his own trio, on solo piano, and with David Murray, Conjure, Maceo Parker, Roy Brooks, the group Shakill’s Warrior, the group Roots,

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, December 4 is "The Career of Max Roach."  One of the founders of bebop drumming, Max Roach’s 69 year performance career included sideman work with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, leading his own groups, most notably Brown-Roach, Inc., pioneering civil rights work, choral music, symphony music and his own percussion ensemble, M’Boom.  Other musicians heard on the show will be Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, George Wallington, Thelonious Monk, The :Lighthouse All-Stars, Herbie Nichols, Jazz at the Philharmonic, J.J.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited FOR Sunday, November 26, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Jim Hall) Plus New Music.”  I have always been fascinated by the sound and conception of guitarist Jim Hall, who will be featured on the “Keys and Strings Hour.”  Hall will be heard in duos, a trio, piano quartets and a quintet featuring such artists as Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny, Hampton Hawes, Geoff Keezer and Red Mitchell, who will be playing cello.  New music will be heard by the Canadian pianist Nick McLean, Bill Charlap, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Joey Alexander, Christian McBride and hi

Cuban Jazz Musicians

Nov 20, 2017

For November 19, 2017, Jazz Unlimited preented "Cuban Jazz Musicians."   Jelly Roll Morton called the Cuban influence on jazz “The Spanish Tinge.”  These musicians have been involved in jazz since the beginning.  Cuban Albert Socarras played the first jazz flute solo in 1927. The music by Socorras, Chucho Valdes, Chano Pozo, Dafnis Prieto, Hilario Duran, Mongo Santamaria, Machito, Irakere, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D'Rivera, Mario Baiza, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Candido Camero, Chico O'Farrill, Harold Lopez-Nussa, Fabian Almazan and Alex Acuna was heard.

Jazz Unlimited November 12, 2017 was “Re-Imagining “Ain’t Misbehavin’, Honeysuckle Rose and Jitterbug Waltz.” Fats Waller composed many tunes, some of which are favorite vehicles for re-imagination in a variety of styles.  The musicians who played “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Honeysuckle Rose” and “The Jitterbug Waltz” ranged from Waller himself to Anthony Braxton.

There are no photos for this show.

There is no video for this show.

The Archive for this show will be available until the morning of November 20, 2017.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, November 5, 2017 will be “The Career of Lee Konitz.”  Saxophonist Lee Konitz has been performing on the international stage for 72 years.  He was known early in his career for associations with Claude Thornhill, Lennie Tristano, the Birth of the Cool band and Stan Kenton.  Konitz has forged a long career in styles ranging from swing to avant-garde.  In addition to the above, we will hear him with Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Judy Niemack, Warne Marsh & Bill Evans, Jeanfrancois Prins, Brad Mehldau & Charlie Haden and Art Pepper.  His composition “S

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 29, 2017 will be “Jazz Giants for September and October.”  Jazz giants are those musicians who have made exceptional contributions to jazz.  Our Jazz Giants show for September and October will present such musicians as Jimmy Blanton, Lester Bowie, Clifford Brown, Hamiet Bluiett, Ray Brown, John Coltrane, Dave Holland, Milt Jackson, Elvin Jones, Oliver Lake, Jelly Roll Morton, Art Pepper, Oscar Pettiford, Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Art Tatum and Gerald Wilson.

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

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 22, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour Plus New Music.”  The quieter side of jazz will present an hour of compositions of Thelonious Monk played by pianists including Monk himself, the Monk’s Music Trio, Jay McShann & John Hicks, Jessica Williams, guitarist Joshua Breakstone and sung by Judy Niemack.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 15, 2017 will be “The Thelonious Monk Centennial.”  In his lifetime, Thelonious Monk composed just over 70 tunes.  Monk’s little gems are the second most recorded compositions in all of jazz history.  Monk would have been 100 years old on October 10.  We will play his music performed by him on solo piano, small groups and big bands and by Ray Anderson, Carmen McRae, Scott Amendola, the Monk’s Music Trio, Abbey Lincoln, Irene Schweizer, Coleman Hawkins, Organ Monk, Fred Hersch, John Coltrane, Andy Bey, Kenny Barron & Regina Carter, Danilo Perez, Steve

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 8, 2017 will feature “The Music of Mal Waldron.”  Pianist Mal Waldron was one of the great accompanists in jazz, playing with nearly everyone during his over 50-year career, including Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Teo Macero, Steve Lacy, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Terence Blanchard & Donald Harrison, Abbey Lincoln,  David Murray, Judy Niemack and Anthony Braxton.  He composed over 400 tunes and we will hear two of these played by our own Hard Bop Heritage group and Dizzy Gillespie.  He also composed music scores for at least four films.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 1, 2017 will be “The Music of John Lewis.”  Best known as the pianist and music director of the Modern Jazz Quartet, John Lewis was involved in much more.  During his over 50 year career, he played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and was involved in the development of Third Stream music, a classical jazz hybrid.  We will hear him with the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Miles Davis “Birth of the Cool Band,” The Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and small groups, the American Jazz Orchestra, Clifford Brown and J.J.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for September 24, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Dizzy Gillespie Tunes) + New Music.”  The quieter side of jazz in the first hour will feature tunes by Dizzy Gillespie played by pianists Lynne Ariale, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Keith Jarrett, Mary Lou Williams, Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan and Kenny Barron.  The noisier side of jazz will be heard in the second and third hours with new music played by Harold Mabern, the Debbie Poryes Trio, Emi Meyer, the group Hudson, a Martian Solal/Dave Liebman duet, Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd playing a Mo

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Septemner 17, 2017 will be “The Dizzy Gillespie Centennial.”  Jazz needs a Dizzy Gillespie for his audience communication skills and basic humanity.  We will celebrate his hundredth birthday, which will be in October, with a survey of the music in his career mainly from a time when he was playing at his best technically and imaginatively.  We will hear Dizzy with his own groups and big bands, Cab Calloway, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, Jazz At the Philharmonic, Quincy Jones, Benny Carter and

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for September 10, 2017 will be “The Music of Oscar Peterson.”  Pianist Oscar Peterson is reputed to be the most recorded pianist in jazz.  We will hear him with Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, Ed Thigpen, Ben Webster, Flip Phillips, Lester Young, Stan Getz & Lester Young, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Jazz At the Philharmonic, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Sonny Stitt and Stuff Smith.  This show is part of the St.

The Sleep Cycle

Aug 31, 2017

All of us spend a significant portion of our lives sleeping.  When we are asleep, we dream, we have rapid eye movements, some of us talk, some of us walk and at one time or other we all have nightmares.  There are a surprising number of tunes having to do with what goes on when we sleep.   We feature music by Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Irene Reid, Johnny Hodges, Bertha Hope, Roger Kellaway, Count Basie, Ornette Coleman, Kurt Elling, Gary Burton, Horace Silver, Irene Reid, Meredith D'Ambrosio, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Charles Mingus, Gerald Clayton, Marilyn Crispell, Toshiko

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for August 27, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  Piano duets will be featured on the August “Keys and Strings Hour.”  The duets will be between Albert Ammons & Meade “Lux” Lewis, Ralph Sutton & Jay McShann, Oscar Peterson & Benny Green, Count Basie & Oscar Peterson, Harold Danko & Kirk Lightsey, Tommy Flanagan & Hank Jones, Chick Corea & Hiromi and Dick Hyman and Roger Kellaway.  In addition, new music will be heard from a CD entitled “The Passion of Charlie Parker,” the group Steps Ahead, Slideride (a kind of “World T

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, August 20, 2017 will be “Broadway 1950 and Beyond-Part 2.”  Before the original cast record albums, most of the music from Broadway musicals came into jazz via films based on those shows.  Since then, music directly from Broadway shows has crept into jazz.  We will hear music from “The King and I,” “The Music Man,”  “Guys and Dolls,” “42nd Street,” “Funny Girl,” “Company,” “A Chorus Line,” “The Wiz,” “The Girls of Summer,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “The Sound of Music,” “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of

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