Andrew Green: Dime Dancing: The Music Of Steely Dan

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Andrew Green: Dime Dancing: The Music Of Steely Dan
It is not hard to imagine jazz versions of Steely Dan songs, as they are rich in knotty harmonies and dark lyrics that belie their mainstream pop success. But you would probably have to be guitarist Andrew Green to imagine them arranged for chamber ensembles dominated by woodwinds and strings (as well as vocalist Miriam Waks and Green's guitar). Ironically, Green's dramatic departure from the iconic recordings grew out of his love for them: he was convinced that no rock or jazz cover would hold up against the originals.

The startling new context is immediately evident from the strings, oboe and vocal that open "Black Cow" from Aja (ABC Records, 1977). When bass and drums enter on the third verse the rhythmic feel begins to recall the original, only to have a totally unexpected Bluegrass guitar solo at the end. Aja's title tune (whose lyrics provide the album's title) alternates between lush woodwinds and strings and rhythmic gamelan textures, concluding with a lush vocal coda.

"Any World (That I'm Welcome To)" from Katy Lied (ABC Records, 1975) gets a stunning re-imagination as 1970s' salsa, complete with a montuno section with coro accompanying vocals and Green's Carlos Santana-like electric guitar solo. "Dirty Work" from the band's debut, Can't Buy A Thrill (ABC Records, 1972), occupies similar stylistic territory, this time as a slow samba with accordion (also featured in a rollicking solo). "Reelin' In The Years" from the same album is done in a dramatically slower tempo, which reveals surprising emotional depth—accentuated by the reed ensemble. Waks' singing here is a wonder, drawing every drop of feeling from the song. Closer "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" from Pretzel Logic (ABC Records, 1974) receives a similar ballad treatment, ending the program on a wistful, sad note. The plaintive vocals are ably supported by an ensemble of woodwinds and cello, plus Green's acoustic and electric guitar playing.

Green's ambitious, adventurous arrangements are a revelation. After the initial shock of hearing arrangements so different from the original recordings, the listener is presented with additional meanings and emotional depth previously only implied in these classic songs.

Track Listing

Black Cow; Aja; Any World (That I'm Welcome To); Reelin' in the Years; Dirty Work; Daddy Don't Live in That NYC No More; Everything You Did; Rikki Don't Lose That Number.


Andrew Green: guitar; Miriam Waks: voice / vocals; Meg Okura: violin; Jody Redhage: cello; Lois Martin: viola; Zach Brock: violin; Jorge Roeder: bass, acoustic; Kenny Berger: saxophone, baritone; Richie Barshay: drums; Vince Cherico: drums; Rob Curto: accordion; Scott Kettner: pandeiro; Verdinho: bass, electric; Dave Smith: trumpet; Lolly Bienenfeld: trombone; Mike Weiser: synthesizer.

Additional Instrumentation

Lois Martin: viola (3, 6); Zach Brock: violin (3); Jorge Roeder: bass (1, 3); Dan Wieloszynski: woodwinds; Kenny Berger: woodwinds; Richie Barshay: drums, udu, percussion; Vince Cherico: bongos, percussion (3); Rob Curto: accordion (5); Scott Kettner: surdo, pandeiro (5); Verdinho: electric bass (5); Dave Smith: trumpet (7); Lolly Bienenfeld: trombone (7); Mike Weiser: synthesizer (2, 4); Andrew Green, Jorge Roeder, Kevin Frias: coro (3).

Album information

Title: Dime Dancing: The Music Of Steely Dan | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Shifting Paradigm Records

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


In Space
The Luvmenauts
Afrika Love
Alchemy Sound Project
Sunday At De Ruimte
Marta Warelis / Frank Rosaly / Aaron Lumley /...
Westward Bound!
Harold Land
Tread Lightly
Trøen Arnesen Quartet
MMBC Terma
Michael Bisio / MMBC


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.