Howard's Blog

This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Secret of Jazz (part II)

I am continuing my search for the secret of jazz.

In order for me to learn about jazz, I have to listen to it. Ideally, I'd be playing it, but that's difficult for me now. There's no better way to learn about music, in my opinion, than to just play it. That forces you to break things down, then put it back together. Even if it's simply tapping along or whistling, music likes an active listener/player.

So where do I "find" jazz to listen to? I guess there are lots of resources. We have the Ken Burns series on Jazz, but Katheryn and I find it difficult to find enough time to pop in a dvd, let alone a new series. We are still working our way through Alias... current somewhere early in Season 3. No spoilers, please.

I've checked out a few net radio places. I've been generally disappointed with net radio, which is too bad. Perhaps it's the sound quality, perhaps it's the inclusion of DJs, but for whatever reason, I have, after years of several attempts, never caught on to any net radio. iTunes allows you to dial into a few stations, but for whatever reason, I don't like that either.

So it was to my pleasant surprise that I found pandora. You "create" your own radio station by starting out with a song or artist. Then it plays similar songs. And by telling it which songs you like and not like, it refines your station. Not bad. I am currently listening to my own jazz station. It's called "bebop monk", and I'd be happy to "send" it to you. Just leave comment or send me email.

Here's the "formula" for the radio station:
start with Thelonius Monk,

then add more songs like:
I'm An Old Cowhand, Sonny Rollins
Night And Day, Art Tatum
Congeniality, Ornette Coleman
Little Girl Blue, Benny Carter
Bright Mississippi, Thelonius Monk

then substract songs like:
The Face of The Bass, Ornette Coleman
Oblivion, Bud Powell

Pandora somehow takes these inputs and serves up songs. for each song, I can say "i like it", in which case it will play more songs like that, or that "i don't like it", in which case it will avoide songs like that.

AND, it doesn't require another app to be running. No stupid DJs, easily available info (album, artist info), and you can share your radio stations.
|| hcpark, 8:18 PM


I’m fond of Pandora, too. But I hate the Flash interface (I appreciate a little sprinkle of JavaScript where glitter and dash are needed on a web page).

My first Pandora station also started with Monk. The other one I listen to starts with Dave Brubeck.
Blogger Nils, at 9:41 AM  

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