© 2022 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jazz Legends

Interviews from the City of Gabriels

Jazz Unlimited host Dennis Owsley interviewed many jazz musicians over the years. Here you can listen to several of those conversations, including some from other KWMU jazz hosts, used for his award-winning book and radio documentary, City of Gabriels: The Jazz History of St. Louis 1895-1973.

Ahmad Jamal

(1986) Ahmad Jamal is a famous jazz pianist from Pittsburgh who worked in East St. Louis in the late 1940’s. His use of space and repertoire influenced Miles Davis. Interview by Jim Wallace.

Anthony Davis, Marty Ehrlich, JD Parran

(1986) Marty Ehrlich and J.D. Parran were members of the Black Artists Group. Anthony Davis is a highly regarded composer. Interview by Jim Wallace.

Asa Harris

(1984) Asa Harris is the daughter of pianist “Ace” Harris and the niece of bandleader Erskine Hawkins. She worked around St. Louis in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Interview by Dennis Owsley

Buddy Tate - Part 1

(1987) Buddy Tate was a tenor saxophonist who worked with Count Basie in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He was interviewed at the 1986 Gibson Jazz Party in 1986 and by phone in 1987. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Buddy Tate - Part 2

(1987) Buddy Tate was a tenor saxophonist who worked with Count Basie in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He was interviewed at the 1986 Gibson Jazz Party in 1986 and by phone in 1987. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Carolbeth True

(1985) Carolbeth True is one of the major jazz pianists/teachers in St. Louis. Interview by Jim Wallace.

Carolbeth True, Gary Dinkelkamp

(1979) Carolbeth True is a pianist who was just starting her long and productive career. She was interviewed with her drummer, Gary Dinkelkamp. Interview by Bill Bunkers.

Charles Creath

(1986) Charles Creath III is the Grandson of Charles Creath, a trumpeter who in the 1920’s was thought to be responsible for the St. Louis trumpet sound. Interview by Jim Wallace

Charles Fox

(1985) Charles Fox was a St. Louis pianist who worked with Jimmy Forrest, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Criss and his friend Clark Terry. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Charlie Menees

(1986) Charlie Menees was the first jazz disc jockey in St. Louis on WIL and was on KWMU and KMOX in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He was also a writer and a champion of jazz education. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Clark Terry

(1986) Clark Terry was born in St. Louis and was one of the great trumpeters and teachers in jazz history. He worked with George Hudson, Charlie Barnet, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and the “Tonight Show” band. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Clint Rayford

(1982) McClinton Rayford was a St. Louis born drummer who worked often with pianist Eddie Fritz. Interview by Dennis Owsley and Jim Wallace.

David Hines - Part 1

(Jan 1986) David Hines was a trumpeter/pianist who had toured with the Woody Herman and Ray Charles bands. The two interviews were done before and after a European tour with Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy. He was also a jazz educator. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

David Hines - Part 2

(Jan 1986) David Hines was a trumpeter/pianist who had toured with the Woody Herman and Ray Charles bands. The two interviews were done before and after a European tour with Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy. He was also a jazz educator. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

David Hines - Part 3

(Feb 1986) David Hines was a trumpeter/pianist who had toured with the Woody Herman and Ray Charles bands. The two interviews were done before and after a European tour with Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy. He was also a jazz educator.

Ed Nicholson

(1986) Ed Nicholson is a pianist from East St. Louis who works with the Eddie Randle, Jr. trio. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Eddie Fritz

(1982) Long time St. Louis pianist Eddie Fritz worked at the Upstream Lounge and other venues in St. Louis until around 2005. Interview by Romondo Davis.

Ed Thigpen

(1986) Internationally known drummer Ed Thigpen was interviewed about his father, drummer Ben Thigpen, who had settled in St. Louis in the early 1950’s after touring with the Andy Kirk Clouds of Joy for many years. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Eddie Johnson

(1986) Eddie Johnson was the leader of the St. Louis Crackerjacks on the riverboats during the 1930’s. He later was a band booker in New York, the owner of a record company and worked around St. Louis from the 1950’s on with saxophonists Tab Smith and Leroy Harris, Jr. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Eddie Randle - Part 1

(1986) Eddie Randle was the leader and founder of the St. Louis Blue Devils in the early 1930’s. Many young musicians who played with him in the 1930’s and 1940’s went on to stardom. He was Miles Davis’ first bandleader. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Eddie Randle - Part 2

(1986) Eddie Randle was the leader and founder of the St. Louis Blue Devils in the early 1930’s. Many young musicians who played with him in the 1930’s and 1940’s went on to stardom. He was Miles Davis’ first bandleader. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Elwood Buchanon

(1986) Elwood Buchanon was Miles Davis’ trumpet teacher at East Louis Lincoln High School. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Ernie Wilkins

(1997) Ernie Wilkins was an arranger, composer and saxophonist who played with Count Basie and wrote the arrangement of his hit “Everyday I Have the Blues” with Joe Williams on vocal. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Floyd Leflore

(1986) Trumpeter Floyd LeFlore was a founding member of the Black Artists Group and ex-husband of poet Shirley LeFlore. He toured Europe with the BAG ensemble in 1972. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Freddie Washington

(1986) Freddie Washington is a tenor saxophonist who has been active since the late 1950’d. He was asked to interview for John Coltrane’s spot with Miles Davis in 1960, but declined. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Gary Sykes

(1986) Gary Sykes is a drummer who was with a group called “Tracer” with pianist Ptah Williams and bassist Darryl Mixon. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Gayle Bell

(1980) Gayle Bell was a pianist who worked around St. Louis and then moved East in the mid-1980’s. Interview by Bill Bunkers.

George Hudson

(1986) George Hudson is a member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of fame who grew up in Pittsburgh. He was a member of the Alphonso Trent orchestra in the early 1930’s and founded his own orchestra in 1941. He was a teacher in Brooklyn, Illinois. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Hamiet Bluiett

(1986) Hamiet Bluiett is a baritone saxophone player who from Brooklyn, IL who was a student of George Hudson and is one of the greatest baritone players in jazz history. He was a member of the Black Artists Group and currently a member of the World Saxophone Quartet, along with many other projects. Interview by Dennis Owsley and Jim Wallace.

Herb Drury

(1980) Herb Drury was the major jazz piano teacher in St. Louis for many years. He worked in trio and duo formats with his friend, bassist Jerry Cherry for many years from around 1960 until his retirement. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Jasmine

(1983) Jasmine was a popular duo in the 1980’s and 1990’s of Michele Isam (alto sax, vocal) and Carole Schmidt (piano, vocal). Interview by Dennis Owsley and Jim Wallace.

Jay McShann

(1986) Jay McShann was a nationally known Kansas City pianist, vocalist and band- leader. Interview by Jim Carl.

JD Parran

(1986) JD Parran is a multi reed player/composer who was a part of the Black Artists Group and now lives and works in New York. Interview by Jim Wallace

Jeanne Kittrell

(1986) Jeanne Kittrell is a retired literature professor at SIU-E and a pianist/vocalist who led Dixieland groups for over thirty years in and around St. Louis. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Jeff Leopold

(1986) Jeff Leopold was a founding member of the St. Louis Jazz Club and supporter of Dixieland Jazz. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Jeter Thompson

(1986) Pianist Jeter Thompson was discovered on Gaslight Square leading the Quartette Tres Bien. This group performed nationally for around 10 years. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Jimmy Haislip

(1986) Jimmy Haislip is a St. Louis trombonist who played mainly in the Dixieland vein. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Joe Buerger

(1986) Joe Buerger is a drummer and teacher who plays in Dixieland and rock groups. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

John Hicks

(1986) John Hicks was an internationally known pianist from St. Louis who played with Art Blakey, Betty Carter, David Murray, Pharoah Sanders and many others while leading his own groups. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

John Mixon

(1986) Bassist John Mixon was the premier jazz bassist in St. Louis in the 1950’s to 1990’s who played with Miles Davis, Jimmy Forrest and Lester Bowie, among others. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Judge Nathan B. Young

(1980) Judge Nathan Young was a chronicler of St. Louis Black history and was interviewed on the program “Creative Aging” around 1980.

Julius Hemphill

(1986) Saxophonist/composer Julius Hemphill was a member of the Black Artists Group and was part of the World Saxophone Quartet. He led a saxophone sextet and composed music that included an opera and classical piano music. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Kelvyn Bell

(1986) Kelvyn Bell is a guitarist who took lessons at the Black Artists Group Community music school and was active in progressive jazz circles, recording with Arthur Blythe, Julius Hemphill and others. Interview by Jim Wallace.

Kenny Rice & Phillip Wilson

(1986) Kenny Rice is a local drummer who was part of the house band of the Blue Note Club in Centerville, IL in the 1960’s and played with Nat Adderley and the great St. Louis guitarist Richard Martin. • Phillip Wilson was a Black artists Group member who was the first drummer for the Art Ensemble of Chicago and worked with Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, among other groups. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Lee Hyde - Part 1

(1985) Lee Hyde was a pianist/arranger who was a founding member of the “Jazz Central” group and worked in Los Angeles for a time. Interview by Dennis Owsley and Jim Wallace.

Lee Hyde - Part 2

(1986) Lee Hyde was a pianist/arranger who was a founding member of the “Jazz Central” group and worked in Los Angeles for a time. Interview by Dennis Owsley and Jim Wallace.

Lee Hyde - Part 3

(1986) Lee Hyde was a pianist/arranger who was a founding member of the “Jazz Central” group and worked in Los Angeles for a time. Interview by Dennis Owsley and Jim Wallace.

Lester Bowie

(1985) Lester Bowie was one of the greatest trumpeters in jazz who grew up in St. Louis. His father was a well-known brass teacher. He was a co-founder of BAG. Bowie went to Chicago in 1966 and became a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) He founded the Art Ensemble of Chicago, a group known as The Leaders and led his Brass Fantasy, New York Organ Ensemble and Root to the Source groups until his death. Interview by Jim Wallace.

Milt Hinton

(1986) Milt Hinton was an internationally famous bassist who had some important information on Jimmy Blanton and his death in Los Angeles. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Norm Menne

(1986) Norm Menne is a Dixieland trombonist who had his own group and worked with Jeanne Kittrell for many years. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Paul DeMarinis - Part 1

(1985) This interview involves questions about how much the study of jazz history informs a musician’s playing. Interview by Jim Carl.

Paul DeMarinis - Part 2

(1986) Paul DeMarinis is one of the major saxophonists in St. Louis jazz and heads the Jazz Department at Webster University. He composes music and poetry and currently leads an ensemble that features both. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Prince Wells

(1986) Trumpeter Prince Wells is a faculty member of the SIU-E Music Department and is now Director of the Music Business program. He is the founder and President of the Black Music Society, among others. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Ralph Sutton

(1986) Pianist Ralph Sutton was born in St. Charles County and was known internationally as one of the main exponents of the Fats Waller style of stride piano. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Ronnie Burrage

(1986) Drummer Ronnie Burrage was a child prodigy who left St. Louis at 17 for New York and has played with a very wide range of great musicians. He now teaches at Pennsylvania State University. Interview by Jim Wallace.

Singleton Palmer

(1986) Singleton Palmer was one of the great tuba players in all of jazz. He started playing professionally as a teenager and played with the St. Louis Crackerjacks, Clark Terry and Count Basie. He founded his Dixieland Six in 1950 and led that band until the early 1990’s. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Singleton Palmer, Robert Carter

(1979) Singleton Palmer and his long-time trombonist, Robert Carter, were interviewed discussing a performance in Bluebird Park in 1978 that was recorded by KWMU. Interview by Bill Bunkers.

Steve Schenkel

(1986) Guitarist Steve Schenkel discusses his career and jazz education at Webster University. Interview by Jim Carl.

Trebor Tichenor

(1986) Trebor Tichenor was both a ragtime pianist and scholar. He was a founding member of the St. Louis Ragtimers. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Walter Dixon - Part 1

(1986) Walter “Tiny” Dixon became involved in jazz as an employee of promoter Jesse Johnson in the early 1920’s. He served as a bouncer in many clubs, including the Glass Bar. In this extensive interview, he recounts some aspects of St. Louis black history that is not known by the general public or historians. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Walter Dixon - Part 2

(1986) Walter “Tiny” Dixon became involved in jazz as an employee of promoter Jesse Johnson in the early 1920’s. He served as a bouncer in many clubs, including the Glass Bar. In this extensive interview, he recounts some aspects of St. Louis black history that is not known by the general public or historians. Interview by Dennis Owsley.

Willie Akins

(1986) Willie Akins was, along with Freddie Washington and Paul DeMarinis, one of the major local saxophonists in St. Louis from the 1970’s until his death in 2015. He lived and worked in New York from `957 until the early 1970’s. Interview by Dennis Owsley.