© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Career Of Ben Webster

Jazz Unlimited for September 14, 2018 will be “The Career of Ben Webster.”  Ben Webster was considered to be one of the three major tenor sax players of the swing era.  Nicknamed “the Brute” because of his brutal tone on up-tempo pieces, Webster’s career spanned forty-two years.  His most notable recordings were with Duke Ellington and his associates, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum and Gerry Mulligan.  We will also hear him with Benny Moten, Billie Holiday, Marlowe Morris, Mildred Bailey, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Jimmy Witherspoon, Teddy Wilson, Joe Zawinul, Johnny Hodges, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Richard “Groove” Holmes and a Norman Granz Jam Session.

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

This video of Ben Webster (ts), Charlie Shavers (tp), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (b), Niels Jurgen Steen (p) and Jorn Elnif (d) was shot at Cafe Montmartre, Copenhagen, in 1971.

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.