Monday, November 12, 2007
Plastic Sax Radio
If you've managed to find your way to Plastic Sax, the most remote corner of the internet, you're probably already aware of Pandora. The innovative service creates customized streaming radio using its "Music Genome Project." It shouldn't work; but it's uncannily effective.
I've been tinkering with a Plastic Sax Radio stream for a few weeks. Click on the link to hear the results.
Because Pandora doesn't allow users to set parameters by geography, Plastic Sax Radio will forever be a work in progress. But it'll play Kansas City institutions like Mary Lou Williams, Charlie Parker and Andy Kirk with regularity. And my love of early Basie makes the system think that I want to hear the likes of Les Brown and even Michael Buble. So please don't blame me if Sammy Davis, Jr. pops up. Just skip what doesn't suit you. In theory, each alteration brings you one step closer to musical bliss.
But beware- Pandora can encourage consumerist tendencies. It has me coveting an out-of-print Don Byas album I didn't know existed.
When Tim Anderson, Pandora's founder, visited Kansas City in February, he reiterated that all submissions it receives are added to its database. Yet pitifully few of the Kansas City artists featured in the right column have their music listed at Pandora. I wish I could have Mark Southerland, Harold O'Neal and other innovators featured, but alas, they're not available. Mike Metheny and Doug Talley are among the few local artists taking care of business.
The addictive diversion is entirely free; the only drawback is that it seems to drag computer speed down a couple of notches while it's running.
(While that's not me in this stolen image, it's pretty darn close.)