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The Career Of Bassist Leroy Vinnegar

The Jazz Unlimited show for Sunday, July 7 will feature music from “The Career of Bassist Leroy Vinnegar.”  Leroy Vinnegar was born in Indianapolis in 1928.  He made it to Los Angeles in 1954 and became a fixture on the scene there, working as both a performing artist and a studio musician, playing on over 600 recordings.  Vinnegar was know for his big sound and walking bass lines interspersed with “double stops” to provide grace notes and rhythmic interest.  During his career he was heard most notably with Shelly Manne, Andre Previn, les McCann, Teddy Edwards, Harold Land and his hometown friend, pianist Carl Perkins.  Vinnegar moved to Portland, Oregon for health reasons and worked there up until his death in 1999.  The Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute at Portland State University was established shortly after his death.

The slide show has four of the musicians heard on tonight's show.

This Archive of the show will be available until the morning of July 15, 2013. 

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Here is a video of the famous Les McCann-Eddie Harris recording of "Compared to What" in 1969 with McCann (p) Eddie Harris (ts) Benny Bailey (tp) Leroy Vinnegar (b) and Donald Dean (d) at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1969.  The two horn players had never played with McCann and there was no rehearsal.  It is interesting that you can see the performance take over the musicians and leave them wondering what it would lead to.

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.