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 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.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Please join me tonight on Jazz Unlimited from 9 pm to midnight on St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 KWMU for “The Keys and String Hour + New Music.”  the Keys and Strings Hour will present music with cellos as front-line solo instruments with Roger Kellaway, Red Mitchell, Dave Brubeck, Tal Farlow, Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington.  New music for December will feature four items from the just released historically important Savory Collection with music from Count Basie, Herschel Evans and Coleman Hawkins.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, December 11 will be “The Career of Herb Ellis.”  Guitarist Herb Ellis was born in Farmersville, Texas in 1921.  After a short stint in college, he went on the road with popular dance bands.  In his 59-year performing career, he played with Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Harris, Johnny Hodges, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Joe Pass, the Great Guitars and others as well as his own groups.  In addition to these musicians, this show will also feature music by Louis Armstrong, Freddie Greene, Onzy Matthews, Mahalia Jackson and the Ray Brown Big Band.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for December 4, 2016 is “The Music of J.J. Johnson.”  Trombonist J.J.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for November 27, 2016 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Quieter Side of Jazz will feature a dozen solo piano players playing a style known as stride piano.  They were recorded over the years from 1921 to 1993.  Some of these pianists are James P.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for Sunday, November 20, 2016 is “The Career of Matt Wilson.”  Drummer Matt Wilson, who hails from Knoxville, Illinois, is one of the great drummers in today’s jazz.  In addition, his persona is one of sly humor, which shows up in the titles of his compositions and stage manner.  We will hear him with his Arts & Crafts, his Big Happy Family group, Deena DeRose, Dawn Clement, the Palmetto All-Stars, the Either/Orchestra, Marty Ehrlich, Karrin Allyson, Denny Zeitlin, the Herbie Nichols Project, Bob Stewart, Dewey Redman, John Medeski and the Liberation music orche

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for November 13, 2016 will be “Re-Imagining of Familiar Tunes.”  Great Jazz musicians are constantly re-imagining tunes in their own style.  We will examine three famous tunes, “King Porter Stomp,” “St.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, November 6, 2016 will be “The Compositions of Jerome Kern.”  Composer Jerome Kern was one of the first to bring jazz rhythms and harmonies to theater music.  Paradoxically, he did not like jazz musicians arranging his music for their own performances.  But, jazz musicians like his tunes and are still using them as a basis for improvisation up until today.  We will hear music from Art Pepper, Ella Fitzgerald, St.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 30 is “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, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Oscar Pettiford, Dave Holland, Ray Brown, Oliver Lake, Jelly Roll Morton, Sonny Rollins, Art Pepper and Gerald Wilson.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the musicians heard on tonight's show.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 23, 2016 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”   The “Keys and Strings Hour” or jazz without horns will present some compositions of Thelonious Monk played by Tal Farlow, Kenny Barron & Dave Holland, Joe Pass, Organ Monk, Chick Corea, Jacky Terrasson and Chick Corea & Hiromi.  New music for October will include St.

The Art of Blakey

Oct 16, 2016

Jazz Unlimited for October 16, 2016 is “The Art of Blakey.”  Born un Pittsburgh in 1919, drummer Art Blakey began his career with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in 1939 and made his first recordings with the Billy Eckstine Band in 1944.  A tireless messenger for jazz he has said, “To pass through life and miss this music is to miss out on one of the best things about living” and "This is the music of my culture good, bad or indifferent. No America - No Jazz.

Kansas Citians

Oct 8, 2016

Jazz Unlimited for October 9 will be preempted in the first hour by the Presidential debate and will resume at  10 pm for “Kansas Citians.”  Not only was it an important the center of a great period in jazz, but also Kansas City and its environs were and remain a nurturing place for the careers of many jazz musicians, including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Pat Metheny, Karrin Allyson and others.  Please note that the first hour of this show will be pre-empted by the Presidential debate.  You can catch the first hour of the show by going the Archive  starting on Monday

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