Jazz music, news and views

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Slacking Off


Coincidentally, one of my current projects that's made neglect this blog is programming for Slacker Radio.

Slacker is a new personal internet radio service programmed by professional DJs and customized by the listener. Each station, divided by genre or sub-genre, can be customized by the listener who can skip, "favorite," or ban tracks and artists. You can also "build" your own stations around your favorite artists or genres. The forthcoming portable player (and car hook-up) are still in the works, but the service is currently available for online listening.


I program the Contemporary Jazz station, which isn't quite the misnomer "smooth jazz" detractors might think it is. The name should be taken literally: it features new and current artists with modern sounds and styles. For kicks, here's an alphabetical sampling of some of the artists on the station:

John Abercrombie
The Bad Plus
David Binney
Brian Blade
Michael Brecker
Billy Childs
Nels Cline
Dave Douglas
Kenny Garrett
Robert Glasper
Stefon Harris
Dave Holland
Vijay Iyer
Medeski, Martin & Wood
Brad Mehldau
Mulgrew Miller
One For All
Jeremy Pelt
John Scofield
Christian Scott
Mark Turner
The Yellowjackets

Essentially, I'm going for a mix of straight-ahead and more adventurous talent, plus touches of funky, acid, or groove-oriented sounds. If you think of any new or current jazz artists, major label or indie, that might fit in, do let me know. (If you're a Song With Orange regular, you know I'm a sucker for (1) thick, juicy harmony, (2) melodic hooks and lyrical solos, and (3) guitarists, often ones with ridiculous chops. I suppose that's another way to characterize the core sound of station but probably not quite as professional-sounding.)

I should also mention that while simply clicking on the "Contemporary Jazz" station will take you to the channel I program, clicking on artists' names will take you on a detour, pulling similar artists from the database and essentially making a new playlist. I encourage doing both!

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