Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Musicians Musician pt.2 STEELY DAN

Steely Dan
incredible in so many ways, Steely Dan is an ever evolving musical and intellectual entity that journeys to the deepest dark corners of the hobo jungle thru the madness and tranquility of endless worlds..
breaking music genre standards, adding intellectuality into the pop
commercial industry fusing jazz with rock and rhythms of the world
changing for no one at no time, never going out of style for these hip
illegitimate children of the Beat Generation. One such as William S.Burroughs novel NAKED LUNCH from which a womans toy
is nicknamed her Steely Dan, and hence their name.
They've evolved from the 70's and are still well respected by musicians and music fanatics worlwide. Every one of their albums were masterpieces in their own right.
Each album is a phenomenal piece of audio engineering and musical compositions that brought out each and every musical instrument/arrangement.
Steely Dan was/is founded by two core members,
Donald Fagan and Walter Becker from the NYC area. Both happened to enjoy playing rock but studied jazz composition which often made their songs a little more difficult to play and coincendetally less commercial..... Their lyrical themes are often mysterious and cryptic, adding to the jazzy sound that they were trying to create.......... for a more in depth history of the band and its lineups click HERE
They set out to L.A. in 1971 with a friend/producer Gary Katz. who just happened to get a staff producer of ABC records.
Photo courtesy of Michael Dobo
Their first albums CANT BUY A THRILL (1972') and
COUNTDOWN TO ECSTASY (1973), both hit the streets with a hard rock edge yet melodic
jazzy sound that was soon to prevail as KATY LIED and PRETZEL LOGIC. (74'-75') Their sound was maturing and evolving with incredible, serious and flawless masterpieces like 'Dr. Wu',
'Your Gold Teeth pt.2', 'Kid Charlemagne' and 'The Fez' (a funky little tune about safe sex!)
only getting the listener ready for their ultimate peak with AJA IN 1977 which proves to be their jazziest album yet that features more giants of the jazz world including Joe Sample, Wayne Shorter and Tom Scott to execute their increasingly complex songs. 1978 "AJA" wins a Grammy award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording. In July 1978, Fagen and Becker release the title track to the movie "FM" and it reaches #22 on the singles charts

After such an incredible array of works leading up to AJA, they put out GAUCHO in 1980 (which featured a new on the scene Mark Knoppler of DIRE STRAITS) which seemed the end of Steely Dan much to the dismay of the musical aficionados world. That is until 20 years laterwhen they stunned the music industry with a come back album TWO AGAINST NATURE that once again amazed their listening audience, sounding like there was never a break in their musical world. Following theend of the 2000 tour, in December Steely Dan was it was announced that they were finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with the ceremonies scheduled for March '01. In February '01 they stunned many (though not most fans) by winning 4 Grammy awards for "Two Against Nature" -- including the top honor for "Album of the Year".Their last album was in 2003 called EVERYTHING MUST GO Recently Steely Dan played with the infamous NPR (National Public Radio) show PIANO JAZZ hosted by a Marianne McPartland McPartland in/around 1994 and the bootleg cd of it floated around amongst the hardcore Dan fans, but the session was recently released this year. (2005) The song selection is not a usual Dan set as they chat about their roots with Marianne and play old jazz standards by greats such as Duke Ellington and Hoagy Carmichael with a few Dan standards of their own thrown into the mix... This is a McPartland release, not a Steely Dan release. But it is an authorized McPartland issue and hence its inclusion here.
To me, its a must have for any avid jazz/Steely Dan fan.
soooooooo......what lies ahead for THE DAN?!?!?..........only time will tell.......

My back to the wall A victim of laughing chance
This is for me The essence of true romance
Sharing the things we know and love
With those of my kind Libations Sensations
That stagger the mind
I crawl like a viper Through these suburban streets
Make love to these women Languid and bittersweet
I'll rise when the sun goes down
Cover every game in town
A world of my own I'll make it my home sweet home