Woody Herman

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 24, 2016 will be “Mel Lewis and Big Bands.”  Tonight’s show is an all big band presentation of the great drummer Mel Lewis in his element.  Lewis was born in Buffalo in 1929 to immigrant parents.  He came to the West Coast with Stan Kenton in 1957 and stayed until 1963, when he moved to New York.  His drumming style was supportive of a band, rather than pushing it.  In 1965, Lewis and Thad Jones founded the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, one of the greatest big bands in jazz history.  The band played Monday nights at the Village Vanguard and toured all over

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 29, 2016 is “Jazz Giants for May and June.”  Throughout its history, certain key players have heavily influenced the course of jazz.  These key players are the ones that lesser players imitate and copy.  Jazz Unlimited always plays the Jazz Giants instead of the imitators.  Jazz Giants heard on this show include the King Oliver Creole Jazz with Louis Armstrong, The New Orleans Feetwarmers with Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier, Frank Trumbauer with Biz Beiderbecke, Fats Waller, Paul Barbarin, Benny Goodman with Georgie Auld, the Lennie Niehaus Octet, the Freddi

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, September 20 will be “Compositions of Monk and Coltrane.”  This show focuses on the compositions of Monk and Coltrane interpreted by others.  We will feature the music of three classic albums: Thelonious Monk’s “Monk’s Music (1957),” 5 by Monk by 5 (1959) and John Coltrane’s “Crescent (1964).”  In addition, five other Coltrane compositions written from 1958-60 will be explored.  These musicians will include Dan Rubright, Steve Schenkel, the Monk’s Music Trio, the Bill Holman Big Band, Steve Lacy, Joe Lovano, James Carter, Karrin Allyson, Marty Ehrlich, Frank Morga

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

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

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Please join me Sunday night, June 29 on Jazz Unlimited from nine to midnight for “Remembering Horace Silver.”  Pianist, composer, bandleader and jazz giant Horace Silver died at the age of 85 on June 28.  He was born in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1928,  Horace’s father was from the Cape Verdean islands and he had an affinity for those rhythms and Latin rhythms all his life.  He was one of the architects of the style known as hard bop and his major pianistic influence was Bud Powell.  Silver’s first major job was with Stan Getz in 1950.  He signed with Blue Note Records in 1952 and remained wit

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for June 8 will feature “The Music of Shorty Rogers.”   Trumpeter, composer arranger Shorty Rogers was born Milton Rajonsky in 1924 I Great Barrington, Massachusetts.  He was involved in drum and bugle corps at an early age.  Following graduation from high school, he became a professional musician, working with Will Bradley, Red Norvo and Woody Herman.  Moving to Los Angeles, he worked with Stan Kenton and joined the Lighthouse All-Stars.  Rogers was one of the architects of the “West Coast Jazz” style and for the 1950’s was known as an avant-gardist.  He also had a studio ca

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for October 6 will be “Classical Themes in Jazz.” There are a lot of connections to jazz from classical music.  Most of today’s musicians are as well versed in classical music as in jazz.  Since the beginning, classical themes have crept into the jazz lexicon.  The show will feature themes by Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, Dvorak, Ravel, Borodin and Stravinsky, among other composers.  The musicians include the John Kirby Sextet, the Nat “King” Cole Trio, Charlie Ventura, Don Byron, Duke Ellington, the Modern Jazz Quartet,

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited Sunday evening, July 14 will have “Music from the Newport and Monterey Jazz Festivals-Part One”   The Newport and Monterey Jazz Festivals are the longest running jazz festivals in history.  Newport was founded in 1954 and Monterey in 1957.  Newport was wracked by riots in 1960, 1970 and 1974, was canceled for a time and moved to New York City for a time in the 1970’s.  The riots were caused by drunken young people who were attracted to the festivals when they added popular rock groups to boost attendance.  Monterey has run uninterrupted for 55 years with its make-up of mainly