Federal Drone Registry Declared Unlawful

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously declared the Federal Aviation Administration’s recreational drone owners’ registry to be “unlawful as applied to model aircraft” on Friday.

As a result, hobby drone fliers across the nation no longer face the specter of $277,500 in civil and criminal fines, as well as jail time, merely for failing to identify themselves to the FAA.

In late 2015, the FAA for the first time made the decision to subject recreational drone fliers to mandatory registration. Beginning on Dec. 21—just days before Christmas—anyone who owned a drone weighing more than 0.55 pounds at takeoff (helpfully, the FAA indicated this was the equivalent of two sticks of butter) would be required to register themselves pursuant to a statute authorizing the registration of aircraft. To comply, hobbyists had to provide regulators with detailed personal information and pay a $5 registration fee.

Flying a drone even a single inch above one’s own backyard before registering was deemed a federal felony.

At the time, the agency noted that surging demand for small quadcopters and other models of unmanned aircraft systems necessitated quick action. Taking advantage of the “good cause” exemption under the Administrative Procedure Act, the FAA bypassed the normal notice and comment process and pushed the registration rule into effect in a mere two months.

There was, however, one significant legal hurdle. As we wrote at the time, the FAA’s rushed regulatory action ran directly afoul of a statute passed by Congress, the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. Section 336 of that law specifically states that “the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”

The agency has attempted to bypass this statutory prohibition by consistently claiming that the new rule was not, in fact, a new rule. The FAA always had authority to register model aircraft, this line of reasoning goes, but merely exercised discretion in opting not to.

How Hobbyists Become Felons

One drone owner, John Taylor, disagreed and filed suit. In the unanimous opinion by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Judges Robert Wilkins and Harry Edwards, the court was clear: “Taylor is right.”

In his opinion, Kavanaugh acknowledges the agency’s longstanding authority to register aircraft—a process that “is quite extensive, as one would imagine for airplanes.” Kavanaugh goes on to correctly note, though, that “the FAA has not previously interpreted the general registration statute to apply to model aircraft.”

Indeed, in 1981 the agency published Advisory Circular 91-57, “Model Aircraft Operating Standards,” and made compliance entirely voluntary. A 2007 notice published in the Federal Register espoused a new regulatory scheme for drones, subdividing them into public, commercial, and recreational aircraft, and prohibiting flights “without specific authority … For model aircraft the authority is AC 91-57.”

In other words, as the court pointed out, the 2007 “notice did not alter the longstanding voluntary regulatory approach for model aircraft”—an approach which Congress codified in Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act.

But is the registry requirement a rule promulgated in violation of the “clear statutory restriction on FAA regulation of model aircraft,” as Taylor alleged, or merely a decision to “enforce a pre-existing statutory requirement,” as the FAA contended?

To answer this, the court looked first to the definition of “rule” contained in the Administrative Procedure Act, finding that the registry was indeed a “statement of general or particular applicability … designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy.” It then considered the scope of the registration requirement, which includes “model aircraft” and defines the term identically to its definition in the 2012 law. For the court, this could lead to only one conclusion:

In short, the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act provides that the FAA ‘may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft,’ yet the FAA’s 2015 Registration Rule is a ‘rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.’ Statutory interpretation does not get much simpler. The Registration Rule is unlawful as applied to model aircraft. (Emphasis added)

The court found the FAA’s counter arguments “unpersuasive.” The registry requirement was no mere ending of enforcement discretion, but a “rule that creates a new regulatory regime for model aircraft,” replete with “new requirements” for hobbyists and “new penalties” to which those hobbyists are subjected.

A Victory for the Rule of Law

The judges’ swift dismissal of this line of reasoning is hardly surprising. In one telling exchange at oral argument, the FAA asserted that the rule was merely an enforcement of existing law that the 2012 statute in no way hindered, prompting one judge to retort, “You’re just making stuff up. That’s not what the statute says.”

FAA arguments that the registration rule is needed on policy grounds were similarly rejected. Though “[a]viation safety is obviously an important goal,” the court noted that judges are bound to “follow the statute as written.”

In other words, if federal law is to be rewritten, it is neither a judge nor a regulator who is constitutionally empowered to do so. That responsibility falls squarely—and exclusively—on the shoulders of Congress.

The FAA’s recreational drone registry may have been struck down, but its commercial drone regulations were not at issue, and remain in force. The FAA’s ability to preserve the integrity and safety of the national airspace is similarly unaffected. Section 336(b) of the 2012 law affirms the “authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system.”

Friday’s opinion out of the D.C. Circuit is thus a victory not only for Taylor, but for the rule of law itself. Hundreds of thousands of hobby fliers who, only this morning, were subject to arbitrary and extreme federal criminal penalties have been granted a reprieve—at least for now. It remains to be seen whether the FAA will appeal.

Hopefully, though, the agency will treat the decision as a learning opportunity rather than a speed bump, and re-hew its drone policy to the letter and spirit of the law.

The post Federal Drone Registry Declared Unlawful appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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Google Assistant on iPhone: Why it’s a game changer for Android

Google Assistant on the iPhone was the most understated announcement at the Google IO keynote, but it’s a game changer for the future of your smartphone.

It’s Google’s voice assistant that’s crossing the Android-iOS divide, and it’s doing more than just trying to convert Siri users to the Google campus.

The new Apple-flavored Google Assistant isn’t perfect, but there are five important things you should know about before downloading the new app.


1. It’s going to make Google Assistant much smarter

The first thing I thought of when Google Assistant for iPhone launched was not that they’re poaching Siri users, but making Android machine learning smarter.

Siri is (and probably always will be) limited to iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. Google, on the other hand, is now learning how to interact with the other half of the smartphone world.

Harvesting all sorts of data is what Google does best, and being on the iPhone is a big step forward in making Google Assistant the best AI software around.

So, the best part? It’s going to make Assistant even smarter on Androids. Genius move.


2. Google Assistant understands ‘it’ better

Google Assistant is smarter than Siri in almost* every way in my testing. That’s because Google’s voice assistant understands ‘it’ a little better.

Both Google and Apple have made huge AI advancements. For example, “Who plays for the LA Dodgers?” and a subsequent question, “When is their next game?” brings up a list of all the current players and info about the next Dodger game. Perfect.

But asking Google Assistant “Is it going to rain there?” correctly brought up the weather in Los Angeles (where Dodger stadium is located). Siri didn’t factor in “there,” despite picking up the dictated word, and gave me weather in Mountain View, California (my current location).


3. It has stronger machine learning potential

Small differences of understanding ‘it’ and ‘there’ are a sign that Google is a little further into understanding natural language than Apple.

Combine that with the scary amount of data Google has in its Knowledge Graph and it may be unstoppable in the artificial intelligence space.

It’s the same thing that has happened in Maps. Although Assistant and Siri are almost equals right now, Google is a software- and data-driven company.

How is Apple ever going to make up for the vast data gap?


4. It’s going to push Apple to launch its Siri speaker

Google Assistant on iPhone launched today – 19 days before Apple is rumored to unveil the Siri Speaker at WWDC 2017.

That’s going to push Apple to expand its ecosystem faster, even if Assistant isn’t going to realistically steal Siri users right away.

Apple is notoriously slow to compete if there’s little competition. We often get iterative updates then. With Siri, it finally has a rival right in its own App Store.


5. Be warned, you can’t call it up from any screen

Google Assistant on iPhone isn’t perfect. It’s just day one, but there are deal breakers for any iPhone user.

Saying “Okay Google” from the home screen will do… absolutely nothing. Assistant doesn’t have system-level access to the iPhone.

Assistant only works when the app is open. It also has a microphone button on the leftmost Apple Today ‘widget’ screen. That’s just not good enough.

*Google Assistant still can’t ‘Name that tune’ in its current form. That’s why it’s smarter than Siri in almost every way. How this is still an issue perplexes me.

If Google Assistant on iPhone remains restricted, it’s still a big step in Google’s plan to dominate AI – even if it only benefits Android in the end.

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Learn Python with a Free Online Course from MIT

The programming language Python takes its name from Monty Python (true story!), and now courses that teach Python are in very high demand. Last December, we featured a free Python course created by Google. Today, it’s a free Python course from MIT.

Designed for students with little or no programming experience, the course “aims to provide students with an understanding of the role computation can play in solving problems. It also aims to help students, regardless of their major, to feel justifiably confident of their ability to write small programs that allow them to accomplish useful goals.” Beyond offering a primer on Python, the course offers an introduction to computer science itself.

The 38 lectures above were presented by MIT’s John Guttag. On this MIT website, you can find related course materials, including a syllabus and software. And if you’re interested in taking this course as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), you can sign up for the version that begins on May 27th over at edx.

The course will be added to our list of Free Computer Science Courses, a subset of our collection, 1200 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

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Google joins AI camera wars (GOOGL, FB, SNAP)

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At its annual I/O conference keynote on Wednesday, Google introduced a new technology, Google Lens, which leverages machine learning to provide information and context about what the smartphone camera sees, effectively turning it into a powerful search portal.

The feature also suggests actions for the user to take related to the context of the image. Google gave a demo of the new Lens technology in action at I/O by pointing a smartphone camera to a storefront. From this, Lens was able to pull up the business’ name, rating, and listing information.

Google Lens will help the company grab a stake in the quickly growing smartphone camera market. Numerous hardware entities and digital media platforms are ramping up their efforts in the smartphone camera space as it becomes an increasingly crucial portal and tool for a range of tasks.

  • On the hardware side, Samsung, the number one manufacturer of Android devices by shipments, integrated a robust camera search capability into its latest flagship smartphone line. Apple is expected to have significant AR camera updates in its next launch, which could be similar to Google’s and Samsung’s products.
  • On the social media side, messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Snapchat, have been working to make their camera capabilities more robust as they anticipate photo- and video-sharing to eventually to replace text as the main mode of communication.

Further, consumers are becoming accustomed to using the camera for a range of tasks, including depositing checks, taking a selfie for authentication, and communicating with friends and family. The camera as an interface is primed for adoption by consumers and businesses for a few key reasons:

  • Images and video offer more context. Images contain more context and richer information than other forms of input like text entered on a keyboard, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wrote in a letter to investors.
  • This extra context can be delivered with less effort. Photos require less time and interaction with the phone to get across the same, or more, information.
  • People are more likely to react to and engage with images and video because they can process them more quickly and alter them. The addition of filters and stickers that can be attached to videos and photos makes them much more engaging than text. 

Looking ahead, adoption of the camera-first interface could help users transition to the “next smartphone” — likely an augmented reality (AR) wearable. While the smartphone will be the primary connected device for the foreseeable future, companies like Google are likely preparing for the next wave of technology, one that will rely on voice and images, rather than text, as the primary modes of interaction.

The communications market is in the midst of an all-out war. The deluge of messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Viber, have over-run the segment traditionally owned by SMS and a massive revenue generator for wireless carriers.

And consumers are beginning to view these chat apps not as messaging platforms but as portals to the internet. This is threatening the control Google and Apple have over the mobile ecosystem via Android and iOS. And while Apple addressed this concern with the introduction of iMessage in 2011, Google has largely left Android’s messaging capabilities up to phone makers and carriers to deal with.

For their part, device manufacturers are looking for the newest technology to make their products more appealing than the next vendor’s, as the smartphone market becomes increasingly competitive. Their hunger for improved native messaging capabilities is one of the contributing forces driving the evolution of native messaging.  

An emerging messaging standard called Rich Communications Services (RCS) is showing promise as a solution for these players. Google is wagering that RCS will make Android more competitive with iOS while improving the attractiveness of the OS’s native messaging client compared with chat apps.

Laurie Beaver, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on the Android messaging evolution that explores how Google, carriers, and OEMs can take advantage of the new standard to drive revenue, increase user engagement, and improve the overall messaging experience. Finally, it looks at the target markets for RCS and the required steps to drive adoption.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • An emerging tech standard called Rich Communication Service (RCS) will power Android’s next-generation native messaging app, giving Android smartphone users a more powerful alternative to SMS.
  • RCS will enable Android Messaging users to send larger, higher-quality images, as well as share their location information and make video calls by default. Android users currently rely on over-the-top messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to access these features.
  • The strategic implications of Google’s embrace of RCS are profound, making Android “stickier” and giving it a competitive edge.
  • Adopting RCS will have knock-on effects across the mobile ecosystem. Because Android’s user base is so massive, these may be profound and vary from player to player.

In full, the report:

  • Explains what RCS is and why it’s important.
  • Explores the different ways Google, carriers, developers, and phone makers can access, utilize, and distribute content via RCS.
  • Outlines the steps needed for encourage RCS adoption by global carriers and phone makers.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of RCS.
  • And much more.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT
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New Study Confirms This Is the Worst Food to Feed Your Cat

By Dr. Becker

I’ve been shouting this from the rooftops for years, as have many of my holistic veterinary and pet nutrition colleagues, but it’s encouraging to see it appear as a headline on a conventional medical website like Diabetes.co.uk:

“Feeding cats dry food could increase feline diabetes risk”1

Actually, my experience treating hundreds of cats over the years tells me there’s no “could” about it — kibble absolutely, unequivocally increases the risk your kitty will develop diabetes.

Study Shows Even Normal Weight Cats Eating Kibble Are at Increased Risk for Diabetes

The article at the U.K. diabetes site reports on a Swedish study of a little over 6,700 cats, 1,369 of which had diabetes. The cats’ guardians completed an online survey involving dozens of questions about their pet’s breed, age, sex, spay/neuter status, general health, body size, exercise habits, behavior, medications and diet.2

Based on the owners’ answers regarding diet, the cats were divided into three groups: cats who were fed dry food, cats fed wet food and cats fed a combination of dry and wet.

The kitties’ body types were also categorized as underweight, normal weight or overweight. According to lead researcher and veterinarian Dr. Malin Ohlund:

“Through our research we found that while obesity is a very important and prominent risk factor for diabetes mellitus in cats, there is also an increased risk of diabetes among normal-weight cats consuming a dry food diet.

This correlation, compared to normal-weight cats on a wet food diet, is a new and interesting finding that warrants further research, as a dry food diet is commonly fed to cats around the world.”3

These study results may represent “new and interesting findings” in the conventional veterinary world, but it’s old news to those of us with a passion for animal nutrition and a proactive approach to helping pets avoid illness and disease.

Feline Diabetes Has Reached Epidemic Proportions

Tragically, feline diabetes rates have skyrocketed over the last decade, primarily in overweight and obese adult cats fed dry food diets.

Obesity is hands down the biggest cause of feline diabetes. The majority of cats in the U.S. are fed a high-calorie, high-carbohydrate diet loaded with grains they have no need for, such as corn, wheat, rice, soy, millet and quinoa.

Grain-free dry foods also contribute to obesity and diabetes, because they are calorie-dense and contain high glycemic potatoes, chickpeas, peas or tapioca, which require a substantial insulin release from the body.

All the carbs (starches) in your cat’s food break down into sugar. Excess sugar can trigger diabetes.

Another contributing factor to diabetes in cats is a sedentary lifestyle. Most house cats are couch potatoes. They don’t get nearly enough exercise to benefit their health. Unless you’re giving kitty an incentive to be physically active, her exertion will be anaerobic — short bursts of energy followed by long periods of rest.

Anaerobic exercise won’t condition her heart or muscles or burn the calories she consumes. I recommend a minimum of 20 minutes of daily aerobic exercise for your cat. You’ll probably need to get creative to get her moving, but it can be done, especially if you learn how to bring out her natural hunting behaviors.

High-Carb Diets and Diabetic Cats: ‘Like Pouring Gasoline on a Fire’

While we don’t yet know all the causes of diabetes in kitties, we do know that many diabetic cats improve significantly once they’re transitioned to a low-carbohydrate diet. Many stop needing insulin altogether; others require much less than when first diagnosed.

Unfortunately, many veterinarians recommend prescription diets for diabetic cats that are wholly inappropriate. As cat nutrition expert Dr. Lisa Pierson points out, these diets “… are expensive, low in quality, contain species-inappropriate ingredients and are not necessarily low in carbohydrates.”4

“Feeding a high-carbohydrate diet to a diabetic cat is analogous to pouring gasoline on a fire and wondering why you can’t put the fire out,” says Pierson.

“While some cats are more sensitive to the detrimental effects of carbohydrates than others, the bottom line is that cats are obligate carnivores and are not designed by nature to consume a high-carbohydrate diet or one that is water-depleted (dry kibble).”

There are two general guidelines for selecting the best diet for cats with diabetes, and to prevent the disease in a healthy cat:

  • Avoid dry food (kibble), including treats
  • Calories from carbohydrates should be less than 10 percent of the total calories consumed each day

The carbohydrate content of commercial cat food won’t be found on the package label. Pet food companies don’t want to reveal this info because they recognize nutrition-savvy pet parents would be stunned to learn just how much cheap, unnecessary filler (starch) is added to pet foods to keep costs low.

However, calculating the approximate amount of carbs in a dry diet is easy to do. Just add up the percent of protein, fat, fiber, moisture and ash and subtract the total from 100. Just as an example, let’s take a look at the guaranteed analysis for Blue Buffalo’s BLUE Freedom® Grain-Free Indoor Chicken Recipe For Adult Cats:5

  • Crude protein = 32 percent
  • Crude fat = 14 percent
  • Crude fiber = 7 percent
  • Moisture = 10 percent
  • Ash = N/A

Now let’s plug those numbers into our formula:

100 – 32 – 14 – 7 – 10 = 37 percent carbohydrates

That’s four times the amount of carbs a cat should be eating each day. It’s very important to understand many grain-free dry foods have a higher carb (starch) content than regular dry cat food, and you can’t count on the pet food manufacturer to disclose this fact.

What to Do About a Dry Food-Addicted Cat

The ideal nutrition for cats is whole, fresh and unprocessed animal meat, organs and bones, with a small amount of vegetables. Unfortunately, the majority of middle-aged and senior kitties with diabetes are completely addicted to processed pet food, usually kibble.

Despite what many cat guardians believe, it’s possible to transition almost any kitty from kibble to a high-quality canned food and/or raw diet with patience and persistence. It can take weeks and even months, in some cases, to make the full transition. For step-by-step guidelines on how to get it done, see my two-part video/article series “How to Win the Healthy Food Battle with Your Fussy Feline,” part 1 and part 2.

Some diabetic cats are always hungry, which works in your favor when transitioning to a better diet. Others don’t have much appetite, and it can feel like mission impossible to convince a finicky cat who feels lousy to sample a new type of food.

I recommend sticking with it as long as your cat is eating well each day. If she absolutely must have kibble or she won’t eat, try to add as much grain-free, potato-free and low-carb canned food to her dry diet as she’ll tolerate. Meanwhile, continue to try to move her away from the kibble to a 100 percent canned and/or raw diet.


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Facebook is determined to completely kill clickbait

Facebook today announced a series of News Feed tweaks to further decrease the reach and prevalence of clickbait on its social network. This comes after a substantial News Feed update last year that restricted the spread of clickbait and punished publishers who primarily use the tactic to trick users into tapping on a link. Now, Facebook says it will target clickbait on an individual post level and not just by analyzing the bulk posts of a page. It will also look at two distinct signals: whether a headline “withholds information or if it exaggerates information separately.”

Facebook will look for headlines that withhold information

“People tell us they don’t like stories that are misleading, sensational or spammy,” writes Facebook engineers Arun Babu, Annie Liu, and Jordan Zhang in a blog post posted today. “That includes clickbait headlines that are designed to get attention and lure visitors into clicking on a link. In an effort to support an informed community, we’re always working to determine what stories might have clickbait headlines so we can show them less often.” The company is also going to begin fighting clickbait in foreign languages, and not just on the English language version of its service.

Facebook says its new effort is an improved one because it looks at clickbait-detecting signals separately instead of trying to determine if a post or page is guilty of a number of joint factors. It does this similarly to how email spam filters, by identifying hundreds of thousands of examples of this manually by having a human team consider “if the headline exaggerates the details of a story, and separately if the headline withholds information.”

It then automates this process across the entire social network by looking for commonly used phrases that match the clickbait criteria. Facebook says most pages don’t engage in this kind of activity, and so won’t see any change in post reach or referral traffic. But those that do should see a noticeable decrease in activity.

This move, though it does echo the News Feed tweak from last year, is part of more recent and broader effort from Facebook to clean up its social network. In the wake of the contentious US election last year and the explosion of fake news, spam, and misinformation campaigns, Facebook is grappling with just how far reaching its influence is and how little control it exerts over bad actors on its platform.

So, in addition to its ongoing fight against fake news, Facebook has pledged to combat government-led “information operations,” which are state-affiliated campaigns to sow disinformation and spread propaganda. It also announced earlier this month that it would reduce the prevalence of spam and links to sites with terrible ad experiences.

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Watch the Google I/O 2017 keynote in 10 minutes

Google kicked off its three-day developer conference with a two-hour keynote. There were a lot of news and updates, notably to things like the Google Assistant, Google Home, and Google Photos, but if you don’t have 120 minutes to spend watching the entire thing, we’ve recapped the keynote for you in a snackable 10-minute supercut. Then, if you want to dive into more details on each of these news items, see our storystream for everything you may have missed.

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Hear 2,000 Recordings of the Most Essential Jazz Songs: A Huge Playlist for Your Jazz Education


If you were to ask me “What is jazz?” I wouldn’t presume to know the answer, and I’m not sure any single composition exists to which one could point to as an ideal type. Maybe the only thing I’m certain of when it comes to jazz is—to quote Wallace Stevens—“it must change.”

Of course, there’s an incredibly rich history of jazz, broadly known, especially to those who have seen Ken Burns’ expansive documentary. I’d also recommend the excellent jazz writing of Amiri Baraka, Stanley Crouch, or Philip Larkin. For the young, we might consult Langston Hughes’ illustrated jazz history. And maybe everyone should read Charles Mingus’ Grammy-nominated essay “What is a Jazz Composer?” in which the contrarian genius writes, “each jazz musician is supposed to be a composer. Whether he is or not, I don’t know.”

Mingus the iconoclast argued for tearing up the text even as he sought a classical pedigree for jazz. His wish was partly granted by the influence of jazz on composers like Leonard Bernstein, who sought to answer the question “What is Jazz?” in a 1956 spoken-word LP. The tension between jazz as a compositional or wholly improvisational art seems to resound throughout the form, in all of its many guises and variations. But one thing I think every jazz musician knows is this: Standards, a common compendium of songs in the tradition.

You’ve got to know the rulebook (or the fakebook, at the least), before you can throw it out the window. Even some of the most innovative jazz artists who more or less invented their own scales, modes, and harmonies—like Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman—either studied at conservatory or paid their dues as sidemen playing other people’s songs. Jazz—Coleman once told Jacques Derrida—is “a conversation with sounds.” Its underlying grammar comes from the Standards.

Until fairly recently, the only way one could get a proper education in the standards was on the job. Critic, jazz historian, and pianist Ted Gioia writes as much in his comprehensive 2012 reference, The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Gioia’s “education in this music was happenstance and hard earned.” He writes, “aspiring musicians today can hardly imagine how opaque the art form was just a few decades ago—no school I attended had a jazz program or even offered a single course on jazz.”

How times have changed. These days, if you can get in, you can take graduate-level classes taught by the greats, such as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter at UCLA. Hundreds more less-famous jazz musician professors stand at the ready in music departments worldwide or at the renowned Berklee College of Music.

But for those autodidacts out there, Gioia—who has served on the faculty at Stanford University and been called “one of the outstanding music historians in America”—offers an exceptional guide to the Standards, one we can not only read, but also, thanks to Jim Higgins of the Journal Sentinel, listen to, in the Spotify playlist above. (If you need Spotify’s free software, download it here.) In a companion essay, Higgins describes the process of compiling “as many of the performances [Gioia] recommended” in his commentary on 250 jazz standards.

Gioia names over 2,000 different performances of those 250 standards, and the playlist contains nearly all of them. You’ll find, for example, “several different recordings of ‘In a Sentimental Mood’ by the composer (including one with John Coltrane), as well as versions by Sonny Rollins, Art Tatum, McCoy Tyner, Abdullah Ibrahim and Buddy Tate, and Chris Potter.” While the playlist is “not a complete reflection of Gioia’s recommendations,” given that certain artists’ work cannot be streamed, “there’s a lot of music here”—a whole lot—“spanning a century.”

The experience of listening to this incredible library will not be complete without some context. Gioia’s book contains a “short historical and musical essay” on each of the 250 songs and he isn’t shy about offering incisive critical commentary. Other than going to music school or joining a touring band, I can’t think of a better way to learn the Standards.

Related Content:

Hear What is Jazz?: Leonard Bernstein’s Introduction to the Great American Art Form (1956)

Philosopher Jacques Derrida Interviews Jazz Legend Ornette Coleman: Talk Improvisation, Language & Racism (1997)

Langston Hughes Presents the History of Jazz in an Illustrated Children’s Book (1955)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness.

Hear 2,000 Recordings of the Most Essential Jazz Songs: A Huge Playlist for Your Jazz Education is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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