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The Arrangements and Compositions of Oliver Nelson

Jazz Unlimited for March 3, 2019, will be “The Compositions and Arrangements of Oliver Nelson.”   Born in St. Louis in 1932, Oliver Nelson began music lessons at five on piano and began playing saxophone at ten.  He played with the Eddie Randle band and then arranged for Louis Jordan,  After military service, Nelson went to Washington University and Lincoln Universities and studied with modern classical composers.  He moved to New York in 1958 and began his recording career in 1959.  Nelson gained a reputation as an arranger, composer saxophonist and teacher.  This took him to Hollywood for film and TV work.  He died early of a heart attack in 1975.  We will hear his arrangements and compositions played by his own big bands and small groups, , Pee Wee Russell, Clark Terry & Bob Brookmeyer, Buddy Rich, Keith Jarrett, Quincy Jones, Judy Niemack, Phil Woods, Jimmy Smith, Count Basie, Bill Cunliff, Eric Dolphy, Oscar Peterson and Wes Montgomery.

The Slide Show has my photogaphs of some of the musicians heard on this show.

Due to copyright restrictions, the audio from this show is no longer available. Audio links are available for one week after a show airs, starting on the Monday after the show.

This is a video of Oliver Nelson leading the Berlin Dream Band in Berlin playing "Down By the Riverside" in 1970.

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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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