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Saturday, April 25, 2015

French jazz, Jonathan Schwartz, and Noisli

During my project to watch every Woody Allen movie ever made, I found that I liked Django Reinhardt who was a major off-screen character in 1999's Sweet and Lowdown. (Whatever you might think of Sean Penn's personal behavior, watch the film and you'll never doubt his acting skills.) Liking Reinhardt eventually led me to the Café de Paris channel at RadioTunes.com, which has become a mainstay of my listening. There are many other curated channels on RadioTunes, and the basic offerings are no-charge.

Another streaming site that I highly recommend is the Jonathan Schwartz channel from WNYC. Schwartz was formerly featured on the Sirius XM channels Siriusly Sinatra and '40s on 4. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of American standards, and he sings them and writes about them too. Also, he has one of the best announcing voices of all time. Give him a try because he is edging toward retirement and I don't know how much longer he will keep his gig at WNYC.

As for Sirius XM, on the occasions when I drive Gail's Hyundai and she's not with me, I tune to '40s on 4. I began to like 1940s music when my work colleagues hung out at the 57th Fighter Group Restaurant in Atlanta. Not many restaurants with the World War II theme have survived, but the one in Atlanta is going strong after 34 years (although there was a gap). Try the beer cheese soup if you're near Peachtree-Dekalb Airport.

Except for hockey games and local non-profit stations WCPE (classical) and WSHA (jazz), which play on the kitchen radio, I've abandoned over-the-air broadcasts.

And let me make one more recommendation: Noisli. If you sometimes work in an open-office environment, streaming Noisli into your headphones is a pleasant way to block ambient noise and office chatter. It's free, too.