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Walter Becker

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Walter Becker (born Walter Carl Becker, 20 February 1950, in Queens, New York) is an American musician and record producer. He is perhaps best known as the guitarist (and sometimes bassist) and half of the duo at the core of the jazz-rock band Steely Dan. Becker grew up in Westchester County and Forest Hills and is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, (class of 1967). After starting out on saxophone, he switched to guitar and received instruction in blues technique from neighbor Randy Wolfe who, as Randy California, played with Jimi Hendrix and was soon to found the group, Spirit. He met his long-time musical partner, the other half of Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, while attending Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Donald Fagen On The Past, Present And Future

Read "Donald Fagen On The Past, Present And Future" reviewed by Leo Sidran


Donald Fagen on what's so punk about Steely Dan, what's so sweet about bebop, why making his first solo record, The Nightfly was so personally disruptive to him, when he decided to finally grow up, and who he never wants to see again. Plus, behind the scenes stories of making Gaucho, his relationship with Walter Becker, ...

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Article: Highly Opinionated

Why Steely Dan Can Never Really Be Yacht Rock

Read "Why Steely Dan Can Never Really Be Yacht Rock" reviewed by Eric Pettine


The website Really Smooth Music provides the definition of the term Yacht Rock as being “a variation of popular Soft Rock that peaked between the years of 1976 and 1984 (as featuring a) highly polished brand of soft rock that emanated from Southern California during the late '70s and early '80s. The term is meant to ...

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Article: Interview

Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary

Read "Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


More than any other person, Leonardo Pavkovic has made me write some crazy shit. Pavkovic is the primal force behind the joyously eclectic MoonJune Records, which he established in 2001. “Established" may not be the right word: “I am truly an unusual and rules breaking call-it-record-company with a 'label' identity despite the fact that ...

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Article: Jazzmatazz

Remembering Walter Becker

Read "Remembering Walter Becker" reviewed by Matt Hooke


Steely Dan combined rock and jazz in a way no other artist has ever done. Their music is not simply “jazzers slumming it" to make profitable rock recordings, but a precise blend of the two genres that shows the musicians love for both. On Sunday one of the two architects of Steely Dan, Walter Becker, died ...

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Article: Extended Analysis

Sanguine Hum: What We Ask Is Where We Begin - The Songs for Days Sessions

Read "Sanguine Hum: What We Ask Is Where We Begin - The Songs for Days Sessions" reviewed by John Kelman


Few groups in the history of music can be credited with having come up with something as wonderfully absurd (yet, somehow, totally making sense) as Sanguine Hum. On its last album, the two-CD concept album Now We Have Light (Esoteric Antenna, 2014), the group told the story of a Dystopian future where our hero, Don (just ...

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Article: Interview

Walt Weiskopf: All About the Sound

Read "Walt Weiskopf: All About the Sound" reviewed by Bob Kenselaar


What is it that drives Walt Weiskopf? It's all about the music, all about the sound. He's reached a large audience in ten years of touring with Steely Dan. He's written a half dozen books on jazz improvisation techniques and methods, and he's taught at the Eastman School of Music, Temple University and New ...

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Article: Catching Up With

Randy Brecker: Hittin' It with "RandyPOP!"

Read "Randy Brecker:  Hittin' It with "RandyPOP!"" reviewed by Bob Kenselaar


In his 62 years playing music--starting trumpet at eight years old--Randy Brecker has played all kinds of music, but for many years now, he's mostly been known as a solid, top-flight, first-call jazz player, a modern post-bop soloist and bandleader who carries around his old '70s fusion-funk Brecker Brothers fame in his back pocket. So, with ...

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Article: Rediscovery

Lost Tribe: Lost Tribe

Read "Lost Tribe: Lost Tribe" reviewed by John Kelman


Lost TribeLost TribeWindham Hill Jazz1993 Today's Rediscovery ultimately jumpstarted the careers of five young musicians who have since gone on to varying degrees of greater fame and exposure. While not necessarily household names, few who follow the contemporary jazz scene will be unaware of saxophonist David Binney, guitarists Adam Rogers and ...

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Article: Interview

Linley Hamilton: Right On The Wavelength

Read "Linley Hamilton: Right On The Wavelength" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Trumpeter Linley Hamilton has been a mainstay of the Northern Irish jazz scene for well over two decades. An in-demand session musician, Hamilton has played on over a hundred recordings of various stripes, lending his burnished tone to rock and pop artists and singer-songwriters alike. But it's as a jazz musician, jazz educator, jazz radio broadcaster, ...


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