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.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for SUnday, December 7 will be  “The Fifty Year Anniversary of the Recording of “A Love Supreme.”  On December 9, 1964, the John Coltrane Quartet entered Rudy Van Gelder’s studio with almost no written music but for a few sketches and what looked like a handwritten poem.  They proceeded to record the album “A Love Supreme,” one of the most important and best selling albums in jazz.  Since that time, three other versions of the work have been recorded along with interpretations of various sections by a number of artists.  We will hear these interpretations played by the Conrad

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, November 30 will be “Jazz Giants Born in November and December.”  Jazz Giants are individuals whose sound and approach are instantly identifiable.  Their work has influenced those who came after them.  This show will highlight music from bandleaders Fletcher Henderson, Benny Moten and Toshiko Akiyoshi; pianists Willie “The Lion” Smith, Teddy Wilson, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Kelly, Roger Kellaway, Ray Bryant, Hampton Hawes, and John Hicks; trumpeters Clark Terry, Bunny Berigan and Woody Shaw; saxophonists Serge Chaloff, Phil Woods, Joe Lovano; trombonists Steve Turre a

Food And Drink

Nov 22, 2014
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, November 23 will present “Food and Drink.”  Thanksgiving is the season of gluttony and we will present music suggestive of the season, dividing the show into breakfast, lunch, libations and dinner selections.  The artists featured on this show include Bunny Berigan, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Les McCann, Art Tatum, Hank Mobley, Coleman Hawkins, Nat “King” Cole, Billie Holiday, Don Byas, Cyrus Chestnut, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Lee Morgan, Gene Harris, Eddie Harris, Dizzy Gillespie.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, November 16 will be a three-part show.  The Keys and Strings Hour will present duets without horns, while the second hour will be tributes to the late bandleader, composer, arranger and educator Gerald Wilson and the late trumpeter Kenny Wheeler.  The third hour will present new music.  Musicians and groups heard on this show will be a Dick Hyman/Ralph Sutton duet, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Mary Lou Williams, Charlie Haden, Chick Corea, Hiromi, Michael Blake, Dayna Stephens, Jane Bunnett, Conrad Herwig and the “Latin Side of Joe Henderson Ensemble,” Cong

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Sunday, November 9 Jazz Unlimited will present “Interpretations of Monk.”  Thelonious Monk’s compositions are little, quirky gems that are among the most recorded in jazz.  Monk’s distinctive piano playing will not be present as we hear others interpret his tunes.   The Interpretations include 10 vocal recordings, 10 recordings of small groups without horns and nine 9 big band recordings.  Some of the big bands are the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Quincy Jones Orchestra and others.  Vocalists include Carmen McRae, Kevin Mahogany and Denise Jannah, among others.  The small groups include

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, November 2 will present music from the 51-year of Armando “Chick” Corea.  Chick was born in the Boston area and was working professionally by his late teens.  His career includes straight-ahead jazz, avant-garde jazz, jazz-rock fusion and classical music.  We will hear music from his groups Return to Forever, Origin, his duets with Gary Burton and his own trio.  He will also be heard with Herbie Hancock, the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams group, Miles Davis and the Joe Henderson Big Band.  Many of his compositions are now jazz standards and some of them will be played an

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The October 26 Jazz Unlimited will be in three parts.

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.

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

Ray Brown played and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie from 1945 to 1980.
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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