RSS

Dennis Owsley

Our jazz blogger, Dennis Owsley, has broadcast a weekly jazz show for St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU-FM) continuously since April 1983. His current show,  Jazz Unlimited , is heard every Sunday nigh... Read more

Culture

b1356924d05878c88f778ab687e3b7eb.jpg

Photograph by Kevin A. Roberts

Back in the days when I was teaching college organic chemistry, I was asked, for a small stipend, to review a new organic chemistry textbook. When the publishing company made the offer, I told them... Read more

Culture

Since at least the 1940s, the recording industry has been fixated on “hits” and making large amounts of money by manipulating the books of their artists. These practices have led to the marginaliza... Read more

Culture

When my April 29 Jazz Unlimited Show on St. Louis Public Radio aired, I entered my 30th year of broadcasting jazz on the same station. It has been a joy to serve the St. Louis community with this... Read more

Culture

dennis-owsley.jpg

Photograph by Kevin Roberts

Around 20 years ago at KWMU (now St. Louis Public Radio), I was talking to our chief engineer, Joe Kupferer, about CDs and hard drives for storing music. I was at a point in my collecting where I w... Read more

Culture

ravicoltrane_2550_300dpi-1.jpg

Photograph by Michael Weintraub

Tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane will be playing at Jazz at the Bistro January 18–21. He played in St. Louis several years ago. Then, and on his own recordings, he is a very impressive player with... Read more

Culture

Kurt_Elling-DTY_press2.jpg

Photograph by John Abbott

Vocalist Kurt Elling was in St. Louis recently to perform at Jazz at the Bistro . Arguably, he is one of the top jazz singers in the world today. He was born in Chicago and raised in Rockford, I... Read more

Culture

In 1909, Jesse, James and Harry Johnson came to St. Louis from Tennessee. Jesse was originally a dance instructor, teaching dance steps and leading dances in various cabarets. By 1916, he was promo... Read more

Culture

A jazz great and St. Charles native, Cunningham tours internationally. Once in a while, though, he still comes home to play a show at The Sheldon. Read more

Culture

dennis-owsley.jpg

Photography by Kevin A. Roberts

Commentators over the years have remarked that a country’s psyche can be understood by observing the popular arts. As one who is heavily involved in the arts (music, photography and writing), I have been observing this very closely. When we look at the characters played out in films, in television and in popular music, we see something that tells us about what we really are. While there are exceptions, we rarely find an educated person in any comedy or drama who is not an object of derision. Read more

Culture

When I wrote "City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz in St. Louis, 1895-1973," based on oral histories of the musicians that actually were there at the time, I found a number of myths that have been rooted deeply in the St. Louis psyche. I want to deal with two of them here. Read more

Culture

jazzatthebistro.jpg

Photograph by Kevin Roberts

Jazz at the Bistro, one of the few non-profit jazz clubs in the world, is one of St. Louis' most superlative cultural institutions. Read more

Culture

1_PhotoByMuga_Muyahara.jpg

Hiromi Photo by Muga Muyahara, courtesy of Telarc

American artists wrote the book on jazz piano wizardry. But the best new artists of the 21st century are players like Hiromi, a young Japnese pianist whose work is marked by daredevil tempo changes and wide contrasts in dynamics. Read more

Culture

Why big bands are still a viable form of jazz...and we're not talking about Glenn Miller's ghost orchestra. Read more

Culture

Finding genuine emotion and artistry in the midst of the schlock that is Christmas music can be done. But it's not easy. Read more

Culture

Cohen_duke.jpg

Courtesy of University of Chicago Press

Do we need another biography of Duke Ellington? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Read more

Culture

hughes.jpg

Langston Hughes. Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-92598

Dennis Owsley takes a quick peek at local jazz artists who are following in the footsteps of Charles Mingus: that is, collaborating with poets. Read more

Culture

monk.jpg

Courtesy of Free Press

In his new book, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, author Robin G. Kelly blows the lid off jazz legends regurgitated as facts. Read more

Culture

jazz.jpg

Photo: Library of Congress, LC-DIG-highsm-05172

In his first post, Dennis Owsley presents a mini-primer on the best places in town to hear jazz. Read more

Culture