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Steely Dan at Jacobs Pavilion

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Steely DanJacobs Pavilion at NauticaCleveland, OhioJuly 23, 2013Time flies when you are having fun and it's hard to believe that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, collectively known as Steely Dan, are well into that life niche known as the senior years. Fortunately, they still have a thing for the road, which means their iconic repertoire can be heard live in select cities once every few years. For Cleveland fans, it has been a long haul. Back in 2011, The Dan skipped a northern Ohio location, heading for Cincinnati instead. Prior to that, you'd have to ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steely Dan Plays Aja in Akron, OH

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Steely Dan E.J. Thomas Hall Akron, Ohio November 16, 2009

Since coming back on the scene in 2000, hit makers Donald Fagen and Walter Becker have made it a habit to regularly hit the road each summer tour season, a practice that in their earlier years was looked upon with trepidation. In fact, after some live gigs to support their first album, they stopped touring altogether and weren't to be seen in person for some 25 years. Now with a typical sense of irony, they've extended a summer set of concerts billed ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steely Dan at Wells Fargo Theater in Denver

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Steely Dan Wells Fargo Theater Denver October 29, 2009

Going to a Steely Dan concert is like riding in a luxury car; you know just what you're going to get: a smooth, comfortable ride. There may not be much in the way of surprises, but it sure feels good. That predictability applies even more on the current tour in which the band has been playing some of their classic albums in their entirety. Thursday night in Denver, the band played perhaps their most popular album, Aja. And the ride was smooth and sweet.

LIVE REVIEWS

Reeling In the Years: Steely Dan at Mud Island, Memphis, Tennessee

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Steely Dan Mud Island Memphis, Tennessee August 14, 2009

The only relationship Steely Dan had with the 1970s was the temporal fact of having existed and been popular then. The band's music was always light years ahead of its time. Intelligent, inventive, and way too clever, Steely Dan's music could have just as easily been created now, or for that matter, well in the future.

“Reeling in the Years" from the 1972 recording Can't Buy A Thrill competed with the likes of, on one hand, Don McLean's “American Pie," Derek and the Dominoes ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2008: Days 6-8

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Days 1-3 | Days 4-5 | Days 6-8 | Days 9-11

McCoy Tyner Trio with Ravi Coltrane/Bran Van 3000 Catherine Russell/Steely Dan Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra/McCoy Tyner Big Band Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Montréal, Quebec, Canada July 1-3, 2008

Now nearing its thirty-year anniversary, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal continues to create a universe unto itself. With six square city blocks closed in the city's downtown core, it's an eleven-day party that's marked by high spirits and ...

REASSESSING

Steely Dan: Aja

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Steely Dan Aja MCA 1977

In the movie Mr. Holland's Opus, Richard Dreyfuss, playing a high school music director, recounts his childhood memory of first hearing a John Coltrane album. He recalls how he hated the music, but couldn't stop listening to it. He played the album over and over again until he appreciated every note--until he knew it would be an inspirational force in his life.Steely Dan's Aja was like Dreyfuss' Coltrane album for me. For a teenager raised on 1970's rock, and late to discover the allure of jazz, Aja ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steely Dan: Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

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Purists may balk at the idea of piano legend Marian McPartland tarnishing the unadulterated nature of her NPR series, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz--which has seen her interview and play with artists including Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, and many others--by inviting pianist/vocalist Donald Fagen and guitarist Walter Becker, more commonly known as the pop group Steely Dan, to the studio for conversation and performance.

But anyone who knows Steely Dan knows that, while it's unabashedly a pop group, it has always incorporated a personal love of jazz into a stylistically distinctive vernacular. And over the years the Dan has ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

That Grand Dan Sound: Why Everyone Knows Steely Dan When They Hear Them

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Ok, so Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and Dave Brubeck used them throughout the 1950s. In the 1960s and most of the 1970s, adventurous and ambitious horn-adorned groups like Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears also experimented successfully with them too. But we're talking cool chords (and their various permutations) here folks, not drugs. It's pretty much accepted by the general populace how great the writing/performing talents of, say, Billy Joel, Elton John and Paul McCartney are. But, and it's a big but, how many of the aforementioned people have kept their musical sound progressing, fresh, new, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steely Dan: Everything Must Go

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As sophisticated icons of contemporary pop music, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker have secured a space within the landscape of modern mainstream culture. Beginning with 1974’s Pretzel Logic, the pair would lead Steely Dan through a number of quintessential albums that featured a slick blending of pop and jazz sensibilities and even today songs like “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “Black Friday,” and “Hey Nineteen” ring true for fans from multiple generations. And while at times they have been criticized for a clinical precision that puts their music on the lightweight side for some, their ability to stay true to ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steely Dan at Jones Beach

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Jones Beach Wantagh, New York August 22, 2003

Jones Beach was definitely abuzz for the first Steely Dan show in New York in quite some time. It was a decidedly older crowd filling the parking lot, tailgating and milling about while anxiously scanning the stage for a glimpse of Donald Fagen and/or Walter Becker. When Steely Dan took the stage the crowd seemed transported back in time to their youth. The applause was deafening and the crowd gave the band a standing ovation -- before a single note was even played.

Steely Dan is a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steely Dan: Everything Must Go

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Donald Fagen (lead vocals, synthesizers, Rhodes, organ and other keyboards) and Walter Becker (bass, guitar and vocals) seem to more solidly hit stride on this second album in their comeback. This follow-up to Two Against Nature (2000), the Dan's first new studio recording in twenty years, seems more naturally and tightly woven than their previous effort and makes Nature sound more like the necessary knocking off of rust (Yeah, some rust: Since the release of Nature, Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and received the prestigious American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steely Dan: Two Against Nature

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It’s hard to know what to expect from a band after an absence of nearly two decades, but safe to say that this new batch of Steely Dan songs takes a little while to grow on the listener. Some just don’t work: “What a Shame About Me" tells a compelling tale but gets bogged down in the chorus; “Janie Runaway" and “Cousin Dupree" are plain annoying. But Becker & Fagen’s signature airtight funk is all over the record, and some of the grooves are irresistible. “Jack of Speed" and the shimmying 6/4 title cut are standouts. And “Almost Gothic" will ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steely Dan: Two Against Nature

Read "Two Against Nature" reviewed by

It’s hard to know what to expect from a band after an absence of nearly two decades, but safe to say that this new batch of Steely Dan songs takes a little while to grow on the listener. Some just don’t work: “What a Shame About Me" tells a compelling tale but gets bogged down in the chorus; “Janie Runaway" and “Cousin Dupree" are plain annoying. But Becker & Fagen’s signature airtight funk is all over the record, and some of the grooves are irresistible. “Jack of Speed" and the shimmying 6/4 title cut are standouts. And “Almost Gothic" will ...



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