City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz in St. Louis, 1895-1973

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Reedy Press, 2006 - History - 200 pages
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City of the Gabriels: The Jazz History of St. Louis by Dennis Owsley City of the Gabriels presents St. Louis's jazz history from 1895 to 1973. Highlighted with striking images from each era, this coffee-table book describes the lively world of jazz from the Mississippi riverboats to the smoke-filled clubs of Gaslight Square. The book explores talents and personalities like Tom Turpin, Frank Trumbauer, Singleton Palmer, Clark Terry, Jeanne Trevor, Willie Akins, Miles Davis, and countless others. Beginning with the ragtime era that helped jazz take root, the narrative, authored by St. Louis jazz DJ Dennis Owsley, combines first-person accounts with deft commentary. Stories from and about musicians, club owners, and aficionados abound, and Owsley places them in context. City of the Gabriels is a must for lovers of jazz. The book gives a needed insight into an enduring culture in St. Louis. It also serves as the companion to the eponymous exhibit opening September 21, 2006, at The Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis.

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This book is a gem... of research, writing, organizing, design. Dennis Owsley knows of what he speaks, digs deep into the jazz history of St. Louis, and unearths many gems and discoveries. I don't believe there is a note left unturned here. Anything and everything you want to know about how jazz music, from the early riverboat and ragtime days, to the present day with contemporary jazz, including wonderful biographical information on all the players, writers, singers... you'll find in this book. The photographs themselves are worth the price of admission. Dennis has made a major contribution to St. Louis culture, and the history of jazz itself, with City of Gabriels.  

Selected pages


The PreJazz Era 18951919
The Riverboats and the 1920s 19191929
St Louis in the 1930s The Plantation Club the Unions and the Decline of the Riverboats 19301939
The War Years Jimmy Blanton Miles Daviss St Louis Years and the Inception of Jazz Radio in St Louis 19391949
The Jazz Scene in St Louis in the 1950s 19491960
The Rise Fall of Gaslight Square 19591967
The Polarization of St Louis Jazz Traditional Jazz BAG 19681973
Charter Members of the St Louis Jazz Club

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About the author (2006)

Dennis Owsley hosts Jazz Unlimited, a radio program on KWMU-FM in St. Louis. He is also an accomplished photographer of jazz musicians. Owlsey is a retired industrial scientist currently serving as a senior adjunct professor at McKendree College.

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