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.

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Jazz Unlimited
10:43 am
Sat July 6, 2013

The Career Of Bassist Leroy Vinnegar

Benny Carter-1989
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Jazz Unlimited show for Sunday, July 7 will feature music from “The Career of Bassist Leroy Vinnegar.”  Leroy Vinnegar was born in Indianapolis in 1928.  He made it to Los Angeles in 1954 and became a fixture on the scene there, working as both a performing artist and a studio musician, playing on over 600 recordings.  Vinnegar was know for his big sound and walking bass lines interspersed with “double stops” to provide grace notes and rhythmic interest.  During his career he was heard most notably with Shelly Manne, Andre Previn, les McCann, Teddy Edwards, Harold Land and his hometown

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Jazz Unlimited
7:08 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Jazz Giants For May And June

Flip Phillips (ts) Ray Brown (b) Snookie Young (tp) Urbie Green (tb) [heard on tonight's show]-1988
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Sunday, June 30, 2013 Jazz Unlimited show will be “Jazz Giants for May and June.”  Throughout its history, certain key players have heavily influenced the course of jazz.  These Jazz Giants are the ones that lesser players imitate and copy.  Jazz Unlimited always plays the Jazz Giants instead of the imitators.  Sunday night’s music will feature Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, Joe “King” Oliver, Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Shelly Manne, Freddie Redd, Betty Carter, Woody Herman, Eric Dolphy, Chick Corea, Bud Shank, Bill Holman, Betty Carter and Sun Ra.

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Jazz Unlimited
8:20 am
Tue June 18, 2013

More New Music

Tommy Flanagan-1987
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley
  • Jazz Unlimited 6/23/13 Hour 1 Archive

The June 23 Jazz Unlimited show will have new music featuring a duet between pianists Jaki Byard and Tommy Flanagan, vocalist Ben Sidran, pianists Joey Calderazzo, Monty Alexander and Keith Jarrett, alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, the Jim Widner Big Band and a five part Suite called "Hagar’s Song" by Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran.

The slide show has images of some of the musicians heard on this show.

This Archive of the 6/23/13 show will be available until Monday morning 7/1/13

Jazz Unlimited
11:46 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Tributes To Mulgrew Miller and Ed Shaughnessy; New Music

Mulgrew Miller-2010
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley
  • Jazz Unlimited 6/16/13 Hour 1 Archive

Jazz Unlimited for June 16 will feature tributes to the late Mulgrew Miller and the late Ed Shaughnessy.  In addition, there will be new music featuring Dave Douglas, Gerald Clayton, Lionel Loueke, Freddy Cole, Ian Dogole, the Bad Plus, Jack DeJohnette, Grant Green, John and Ravi Coltrane, Charles Lloyd and St. Louisans Keith Moyer, James “Jabbo” Ware and Jim Widner and his Big Band.

The Slide Show contains images of some of the artists heard on tonight's show.

Jazz Unlimited
6:24 am
Mon June 3, 2013

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 10: The Late 2000's And Current Times

Rob & Mike Silverman-2011
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley
  • Jazz Unlimited 6/9/13 Hour 1 Archive

The Sunday, June 9, 2013 Jazz Unlimited show will be “The Jazz History of St. Louis-Part 10: The Late 2000’s and Current Times.”  Even during the Great Recession, Jazz at the Bistro thrived, bringing in nationally known groups and giving work to local St. Jazz musicians.  Recordings kept being made and both Kim Portnoy and Paul DeMarinis included poetry in their latest recordings.  Dixieland jazz continued to be heard at St. Louis Jazz Club meetings and occasionally at the Sheldon.  Music on this show will be from The St.

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Jazz Unlimited
12:47 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 9: The Early 2000's

Tom Byrne-2002
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley
  • Jazz Unlimited 6/2/13 Hour 1 Archive

The Jazz Unlimited Sunday, June 2, will be the “Jazz History of St. Louis-Part 9: The Early 2000’s.”  Even though 9/11 put fear into the nation, the St. Louis jazz scene continued to revive until the Great Recession that started in 2007.  After that, gigs were few and far between for several years.  Jazz at the Bistro became one of the great jazz clubs in the world.  The Sheldon continued to bring local and national groups into St. Louis.  The City Bank St. Louis Jazz Festival was in Shaw Park from 2001 to 2008.  Bill Becker’s Victoria Company continued to document St.

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Jazz Unlimited
11:37 am
Mon May 20, 2013

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 8: The 1990’s-Rebuilding The Scene

Asa Harris-2002
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley
  • Jazz Unlimited 5/26/13 Hour 1 archive

The Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, May 26 will be  “The Jazz History of St. Louis-Part 8: The 1990’s-Rebuilding the Scene.”  The 1990’s were a period of rebuilding.  The jazz studies programs at Webster University and SIU-E were firmly entrenched.

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Jazz Unlimited
8:02 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 7: The 1970’s And 1980’s: Dark Times And Rebirth

Paul DeMarinis-1978
Dennis C. Owsley Copyright Dennis C. Owsley
  • Jazz Unlimited 5/19/13 Hour 1 Archive

On the May 19 Jazz Unlimited show, we will find out that the jazz scene in St. Louis went through a dark time and the beginnings of a rebirth in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  College and high school jazz programs began and Charlie Menees brought a traditional jazz and swing program to KWMU.  The 1986 University City High School sent their jazz band to the Montreux Jazz Festival and all the member of the 1987 Todd Williams Quintet went on to solid professional careers.  A small group of experimentalists was still in St.

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Jazz Unlimited
10:21 am
Mon May 6, 2013

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 6: The Black Artists' Group and the Human Arts Association

The Bag House-1969
Photo by John Emerich
  • Jazz Unlimited 5/12/13 Hour 1 Archive

The Sunday May 12 edition of Jazz Unlimited will present Part Six of the Jazz History of St. Louis: The Black Artists' Group and Human Arts Association (1968-1974).   The BAG period in St. Louis is the second time that St. Louis music had an influence nationally.  The first time was the Ragtime Era around 1900.  When the St. Louis musicians got to New York, they helped change the way jazz and other allied music was played for the next twenty years.  We will hear almost all of the recordings made in St. Louis by these experimentalists.

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Jazz Unlimited
8:17 am
Thu May 2, 2013

The Jazz History Of St. Louis-Part 5: The Gaslight Square Period

Gaslight Square Poster
Unknown Courtesy of the Charlie Menees Collection, UMKC

On Sunday, May 5, Jazz Unlimited will present Part Five of the Jazz History of St. Louis: The Gaslight Square Era Sunday night from nine to midnight.  Gaslight Square is one of the cultural events never to be forgotten by St. Louisans.  Jazz music of all styles was heard there.  We will hear Sammy Gardner, Singleton Palmer, Muggsy Sprecher, the St. Louis Ragtimers, Ceil Clayton, Clea Bradford, Jeanne Trevor and the Quartet Tres Bien, among many others, along with the voices of people like Jeter Thompson, Norman Menne, Jean Kittrell and Joe Buerger, who made the history.

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