We know that Willie Jones III is a powerhouse and one of the best drummers in jazz today. Jones has been dazzling audiences and listeners around the world since 1997. He’s recorded and toured with a number of jazz luminaries like Horace Silver, Roy Hargrove, Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, and Herbie Hancock. He also played on Arturo Sandoval’s Grammy-winning album Hot House. Jones is known throughout the jazz world for his bold articulation and innovative sense of swing. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that he’s always playing in a band, leading a band or keeping the next generation of jazz musicians on their toes. 

Last week, Jones’ jazz sextet, The Willie Jones III All-Stars, was featured on St. Louis Public Radio’s Jazz Unlimited. Jazz Unlimited has been on the air since 1983 and was the creation of Dennis Owsley, a retired research scientist. Owsley has been a jazz album collector, aficionado, and historian since 1958 and has seen a good number of famous jazz musicians perform live. 

Owsley received the Millard S. Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award from St. Louis Public Radio in 2010 and was named a Jazz Hero of St. Louis by the Jazz Journalists Association. Jazz Unlimited won the Riverfront Times’ Best of St. Louis Award in the “Best Jazz Show” category six times. Owsley is very passionate about the genre. That’s evident in the fact that most of the jazz music heard on the show is from his personal collection. 

In the November 24th episode, new music from The Willie Jones III All-Stars can be heard during the third hour of the show. Owsley chose to play “Jitterbug Waltz” from the sextet’s latest album, “Lovers & Love Songs: The Ones You Forgot.” The episode also features music from jazz musicians Benny Golson and Sonny Rollins, Joe Pass and Les McCann, Gene Harris, Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling, and Dizzy Gillespie. To hear new music from The Willie Jones III All-Stars and listen to the show in its entirety, you can find the full episode here.

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