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

The Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, August 24 will be  “The Jazz History of St. Louis-Part 8: The 1990s-Rebuilding the Scene.”  The 1990’s were a period of rebuilding.  The jazz studies programs at Webster University and SIU-E were firmly entrenched. A new label, MaxJazz was started by Richard McDonnell and is now a national jazz record label.  Barbara Rose opened a club that was a listening room called “Just Jazz” in the Hotel Majestic.  When the Majestic was sold, Barbara moved to the Bistro Europa in Grand Center and opened “Jazz At the Bistro,” one of the first non-profit jazz clubs in the country.  She operated the club until her death in 1999.  Gene Dobbs Bradford became executive director.  Jazz at the Bistro is now one of the premier jazz clubs in the world.  The Sheldon Concert Hall was revamped and a new art gallery was opened.  The Sheldon Arts Foundation now puts on jazz concerts and exhibits of jazz photography, among other things, in the hall and galleries.  We will hear music by the legendary drummer Joe Charles, Herb Drury, Carolbeth True, the Kim Portnoy Big Band, the Gateway City Big Band, Reggie and Mardra Thomas, Jean Kittrell, the Dixie Stompers, Christine Hitt, Asa Harris, and Denise Thimes.  Drummer Gary Sykes will be interviewed.

Check out photos of some tonight's performers on the slide show.

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Here is a video of Willie Akins (ts) Simon Rowe (p) Willem von Holmbracht (b) and Montez Coleman playing Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now" at the Artists Quarter in St. Paul, MN.

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Dennis Owsley has broadcast a weekly jazz show for St. Louis Public Radio since April 1983. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and is a retired Monsanto Senior Science Fellow and college teacher. His show, Jazz Unlimited, airs every Sunday from 9:00 p.m. to midnight. The show has the largest jazz audience in St. Louis and was named Best Jazz Radio Show in St. Louis for the years 2005-2007 and 2009 by the Riverfront Times. In celebration of his 25 years on the air, January 24, 2008 was proclaimed Dennis Owsley Day" in the City of St. Louis. He is the 2010 winner of the St. Louis Public Radio Millard S. Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award. Dennis is also a noted photographer, and his exhibit, In the Moment: Photographs of Jazz Musicians, ran from September 23, 2005 to January 21, 2006 at the Sheldon Art Gallery. He is a lifetime student of jazz history and teaches short courses on the subject. Dennis is the author of the award-winning book City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz in St. Louis 1985-1973, published in 2006.

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