Dennis Owsley, the longtime host of "Jazz Unlimited" on St. Louis Public Radio and author of a book about the history of St. Louis jazz, has been named a "Jazz Hero" for 2016 by the Jazz Journalists Association.
The award is one of 26 given this year by the JJA to "advocates, altruists, activists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities." Owsley (pictured) will be the second St. Louisan to be honored by the organization, which last year included the late Don Wolff among 23 "Jazz Heroes" nationwide.
Owsley will receive his "Jazz Hero" award in a ceremony held from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Ferring Jazz Bistro. The event is free and open to the public and will feature live music by a combo of Jazz St. Louis' JazzU students and complimentary Brother Thelonious Ale. A cash bar also will be available. (Separate admission will be required for the 7:30 p.m. set at the Bistro by Anat Cohen, Matt Wilson, Marquis Hill and Linda Oh.)
Dennis Owsley's book City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz In St. Louis 1895-1973 was published in 2006 and remains the definitive volume on the subject. His radio program, which began in 1983, continues to air weekly from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Sundays on KWMU/St. Louis Public Radio (90.7 FM). He also is an accomplished photographer who over the years has shot many pictures of jazz musicians, some of which can be seen on his website.
Based in NYC, the Jazz Journalists Association is a national non-profit organization "dedicated to promoting the best use of media of all kinds --new and old, online and off-- to tell the story of jazz and develop new jazz audiences."