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The Career Of Ray Brown

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, August 16 will be “The Career of Ray Brown.”  Oscar Peterson introduced him as “The Relentless Ray Brown.”  He was born in Pittsburgh in 1926 and began piano lessons at age eight.  When he got to high school, he began playing bass with Jimmy Blanton as his major influence.  He went to New York in at the age of 20.  He was soon invited to a rehearsal and the musicians there included Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Al Haig and Max Roach.  Dizzy hired him on the spot and Ray never looked back.  He participated in 900 recording sessions, 75 as a leader.  In his 57-year career, Ray Brown always made the musicians he played with better by his pushing them to greater heights.  We will hear highlights of his career with the greatest musicians of his time, including Oscar Peterson, Gene Harris, Herb Ellis, Count Basie, Stuff Smith, Barney Kessel, Shelly Manne, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Lionel Hampton, Elvin Jones. Buddy Rich, Monty Alexander, Milt Jackson, Duke Ellington, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Hank Jones, Geoff Keezer, Benny Green, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the musicians heard on this show.

The Archive of this show will be available until the morning of August 31, 2015.

Here is the Ray Brown Trio of Gene Harris (p) Ray Brown (b) and Jeff Hamilton (d) playing "Summertime" in 1988

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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