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

Some jazz greats have major birthdays in February.  The February  Jazz Unlimited show will include reed players John Handy, Buddy DeFranco, Harold Land and Dexter Gordon and many others.  In addition we will have a tribute to jazz great Donald Byrd, who passed away February 4.

Check out my photos of some of the musicians heard on tonight's show.

>> Playlist

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

On the Sunday, February 10 Jazz Unlimited, we continue our series on urban centers that have brought great musicians to jazz by having teachers and institutions that bring them into the music at an early age.  The Jazz Cities series will feature the second part on musicians born in or nurtured early in their careers in Chicago.  Some of the musicians and groups featured will be blues pianist Jimmy Yancey, pianist Joe Sullivan, cornetist Muggsy Spanier, the Benny Goodman quartet with Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa, vocalists Kurt Elling, Johnny Hartman, Abbey Lincoln and Patricia Barber, The

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

On the Sunday, February 3 Jazz Unlimited, we continue our series on urban centers that have brought great musicians to jazz by having teachers and institutions that bring them into the music at an early age.  The Jazz Cities series will feature musicians born in or nurtured early in their careers in Chicago.  Some of the musicians include Joe "King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, Earl Hines, Nat "King" Cole, Denny Zeitlin, Johnny Griffin, Junior Mance, Eddie Harris, Henry Threadgill, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Herbie Hancock, Anita O'Day and Andrew Hill.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz musicians occasionally use classical music themes for improvisation.  On the January 28, 2013 edition of Jazz Unlimited, the first hour will have music by Bach, Villa Lobos, Mozart, Pachelbel, Rachmaninov, Dvorak and Rodrigo played without horns.  The second hours will present new music with Dizzy Gillespie, Dena DeRose, Art Pepper, Marcus Roberts, Hal Russell and others.

>> Playlist

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The January 20 Jazz Unlimited show will present musicians who have major birthdays.  Most have passed on, while some are still going strong in their careers.  The musicians and their ages are as follows: vibists Milt Jackson (90) and Gary Burton (70), trumpeters Henry "Red" Allen (105) and "Hot Lips" Page (105) , guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli (85), reed players Haywood Henry (100) and Billy Harper (70), violinist Stephane Grappelli (105),  bassists Steve Gilmore (70) and Curtis Counce (90), and drummers Barry Altschul (70) and Osie Johnson (90).

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Jazz Unlimited show for January 13 is part of a series on listening to musicians who were born or nurtured in specific urban centers.  This is the second of two parts on Detroit and its environs.  On tonight's show the featured musicians include pianists Johnny O'Neal, Ross Tompkins, Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Carlos McKinney and Geri Allen, trumpeter and composer/arranger Thad Jones, saxophonists, Wardell Gray, Billy Mitchell, Pepper Adams and Hal Russell, drummers Louis Hayes, Alvester Garnett, Elvin Jones and Roy Brooks, violinist Regina Carter, bassists Ron Carter, Paul Chambers an

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Jazz Unlimited show for January 6 will begin a series on listening to musicians who were born or nurtured in specific urban centers.  This is the first of two parts on Detroit and its environs.  On tonight's show the featured musicians include guitarist Kenny Burrell.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

On the Sunday, December 23 edition of Jazz Unlimited, we celebrate the return of the sunlight and some of the celebrations around the Winter Solstice.  Specifically, the music will reflect the Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanza traditions.  The artists on the show include Pieces of Eight with Debby Lennon, Herbie Mann, Jess Stacy, Don Byron, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Randy Weston, The Jim McNeely Tentette, Count Basie, John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy, Duke Ellington, The Kronos Quartet.  A special feature is the reading of the Clement Moore poem "The Night Before Christmas" by Loui

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Due to music recording copyright laws, the music from this show is no longer available. Music is posted for two weeks after a show airs.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Due to music copyright restrictions, the music from this show is no longer available. Music is posted for two weeks after a show airs.

>> Playlist

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

On December 2, 2012, our series on jazz recorded in left coast clubs continues with part four.  The featured artists will be Lester Young, Oscar Peterson, Joe Williams, Chet Baker, Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Haden, The Capp-Pierce Orchestra with Ernie Andrews, The Chico Hamilton Quintet, Les McCann, Ltd., the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, The Jazz Crusaders, the Don Ellis Orchestra, Nat Adderley, Joe Henderson, Bill Evans, Joe Zawinul, Weather Report and Max Roach.  Featured clubs inclide "The Haig" in Los Angeles, "Shelly's Manne Hole" and "The Bit" in Hollywood, "The Tradewinds" i

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

On November 25, 2012, we will play something unusual.  String quartets in jazz are usually reading ensembles doing transcriptions or supporting soloists.  A few do improvise.  The Keys and Strings Hour feature on string quartets will feature the Kronos Quartet, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Beaux Arts String Quartet, and the Zapolski String Quartet, along with soloists Jim Hall (guitar) and the Modern Jazz Quartet.  The second and third hours of Jazz Unlimited will feature new music by Joe Newman, Keith Jarrett, Art Pepper, Dena DeRose, Bill McHenry along with two rare recordings by

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

On Sunday, November 18, Jazz Unlimited presents "Jazz from Clubs on the Left Coast-Part 3" with music mainly from the Los Angeles area.  Much of the music was recorded at The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach.  Such Artists as the Lighthouse All-Stars, Cannonball Adderley, Curtis Amy, the Jazz Crusaders, the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey with Keith Jarrett, Gene Harris and the Three Sounds, Joe Henderson and Elvin Jones.  The Renaissance Coffee House in Hollywood will have music by the Red Mitchell Cello Quintet with Jim Hall, Ben Webster, Jimmy Witherspo

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

On Sunday, November 4, Jazz Unlimited will present part 4 of our series on frequently recorded jazz originals.  The time period of the recordings spans 80 years  from 1926 to 2006.  Some of the music includes Benny Moten's "South," the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's "Tiger Rag," Duke Ellington's "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart," Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge," Nat Adderley's "Work Song," and Miles Davis's "Milestones."  Photos of some of the artists heard on this show can be found on the accompanying slide show.  Some of the other artists heard on the show will be Horace Tapscott, Thel

The Left Coast over the years has been the host to many great jazz clubs.  The October 21 show presents jazz recorded in clubs in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and Seattle.  Some of the clubs are The Jazz Workshop, Yoshi's, Keystone Corner and the Blackhawk in the San Francisco Bay area and Jazz Alley and The Penthouse in Seattle.  We feature such musicians as the Ray Brown Trio, the Yerba Buena Jazz Band, Shelly Manne, Cannonball Adderley, Thelonious Monk, Henry Threadgill, John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders.

Dennis C. Owsley / copyright Dennis C. Owsley

On Sunday, October 28, the Jazz Unlimited Keys and Strings Hour will present music by 11 of my favorite jazz singers accompanied by groups without horns.  The singers are Patricia Barber, Betty Carter, Kurt Elling, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hartman, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Judy Niemack, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams and Cassandra Wilson.  The second and third hours of Jazz Unlimited will present music by some of the real heavyweights in current and past music: Kurt Elling, Keith Jarrett, Joe Lovano, Teo Macero, the Fred Hersch Trio, Ran Blake, the Kronos Quartet, Anat Cohen, the Brubeck B

Jazz and Money

Oct 19, 2012

Money makes the world go 'round. This episode of Jazz Unlimited will feature Duke Ellington, Muggsy Sprecher, Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and others with tunes about money.

Your financial support for St. Louis Public Radio helps keep Jazz Unlimited on the air.  We hope that you are contributing during the Fall Membership Campaign. Thanks to all who have contributed so far.

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