But where are the incredible Rhythms and Grooves and reinforcing nested Polyrhythms that are Danceable and the unbelievable Computerized Hooks that are as good as the Beatles ?
Now I hear some cool Electronica and love some of the Hip Hop Rhythms but not the repetition and monotony of either..and I have always liked Chords and voicings...but Computers ( luckily )
may make it easier to get things from your
Mind to Real but it's still your Mind/ Creativity/ what you hear...
And in Practice/ Use - computers tend to trap people into a Maze- in Composition...
Computers make it easier to Record and Edit mostly
and quantize..lol ..but are great for certain things.
I'm on an Android and have to get a Computer probably for Preproduction ( I prefer Hardware workstations ) but I'm not a Computer Worshipper..lol.
If Computers were so great we'd have a Mini Renaisance in Songwriting ...like Standards Era ...
Beatles Era...Folk Era ..Dylan Joni Mitchell, Stax, Motown Era Atlantic Era..Late 70's 80's Jazz Era/ 60's Jazz Era/ 40s 50s Bebop and Jazz Era..80s and 90s Rock 70's Fusion / Shred Era lol
Computers Ain't done Nuthin Yet compared to that not even 1 Category except some R&B Compositions here and there and rarely some great grooves..
But not much really...I am actually glad about this.
I don't want to have computers take over and make my Woodshedding of Voicings and Playing be superfluous haha .
The add 9 chord is no big deal cuz I stumbled on that one before Steely Dan just exploring around Barrè Chord E form - and am no big deal -
That Chord is about .004376 % of their Genius IMO.
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Posts 51 to 69 of 69
Thread: How Steely Dan Composes A Song
07-11-2017, 09:53 AM #51
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- Dec 2010
Last edited by Robertkoa; 07-11-2017 at 12:19 PM.
07-11-2017 09:53 AM # ADS
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07-11-2017, 10:08 AM #52
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- Dec 2010
Carlton's great but he had nothing to do with Steely Dan's 'Jazziness...'
Neither did Shorter - they were just Soloists..
Intro to Josie was written out..Carlton called them
' Genius '.
12-29-2017, 03:45 PM #53
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- Dec 2017
Re: Aja (Victor Feldman)
One of the main reasons I like Aja so much, is I get to hear Victor Feldman. I have a interview with the Dan boys
and they say that Victor played Black Cow / Deacon Blues,Home at last and I got the news on the first take.
I'd believe it, if you look at Victor's recording sessions he did over years, he was on literally thousands of sessions.
I have heard he was one of the best sight readers in the business. He had the magic touch on Vibes, percussion
and keyboards. I miss Victor, what a talent.
12-29-2017, 11:55 PM #54
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- May 2010
- Mystic CT
There was something about Walter and Donald that pulled the best out of the best players they could get. The attention to detail and dynamics in the backing vocals is miraculous. Donald's love of soul music is lifelong, and very clearly delineated in Steely Dan's body of work. Bernard Purdy is on several of the hits, as ridiculous a groove as anybody ever gets, in any genre.
It's your favorite foreign movie.
12-30-2017, 04:52 AM #55
Ask David Crosby how to write a Steely Dan song......
12-30-2017, 10:12 AM #56
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- Apr 2011
12-30-2017, 01:10 PM #57
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- Dec 2010
They were not just some clever Guys who had cool Chord Progressions.
They may have had some " unique" way of getting the best from Soloists...but they were notorious Perfectionists in the Studio often doing multiple 'Takes' from Multiple World Class Players ..before choosing one Solo to keep.
I think it was Jay Graydon who did the 'Final ' Take on the ' Peg' Solo and he said there were about 10 different Solos he heard from previous Players and he said ' every one of them was a bitch ' slang for great and hip..and they finally accepted his, which has that crazy ascending part leading to the tail out of the Solo....
And remember , they probably did a few' takes' from each Player..so no 'knack' there.
Best Fusion I have heard so far is Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder ..
12-30-2017, 03:55 PM #58
04-27-2018, 04:16 AM #59
Beyond having some great catchy and sophisticated songs just what they named their band after puts Steely Dan in my top list of fave bands.
04-27-2018, 10:03 AM #60
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- Dec 2010
I was doing Jingles at the time ( some writing ability but nothing special as a Guitarist )...dreaming of being able to play the way I can NOW ( yeah really ) and I was watching Rock becoming more sophisticated both the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan ...
And when I heard Steely Dan- I thought...
Oh damn ( actually' f___ ')we need to be THIS GOOD now ?
I thought Steely Dan was raising the bar to the 'New Standard ' for Rock ...
And they were ...but no one really followed ..they were unique ...and their Guitar Work was totally amazing to me especially in Context.
And Stevie Wonder was similar in R&B .
But I am not a 'Retro' Player...or Writer..I will move forward from here .
But to my ears as I have mentioned before ..Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder ( weird that Stevie eventually lived up to his name ) were the ultimate
'Fusion ' that clicked on so many levels ....
I had friends ( far better Musicians than I ) who did Beach Boys , Steely Dan etc etc BETTER than Steely Dan ' Live ' because they had at LEAST 3 lead singers
depending on which ERA of the Group .
So they could have 4 or 5 Part Harmony or' double'some parts ...they were more like the Eagles in that regard.
To be clear - take Lexington Lab Band and add 2 Lead Singers ...who only held a microphone ..
I know most of you would not consider Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder ' Fusion ' because it is so 'Fused 'that you can't tell .
You are more used to ' Fusion ' where you can SEE
the pickles, onions, tomatos , garlic all sprinkled on top like a Pizza rather than blended together like a Master Chef ...
OR - of course could be just how you hear it -
The Audience or 'Client ' is never wrong- how they hear and feel it is right for THEM .
But Steely Dan and Stevie were' fusing ' on a far deeper level - that's why IMO.
Listen to Stevie's ' Contusion ' with Michael Sembello on Guitar and tell me if THAT is Fusion ...
Interesting if you think it is not - it is less ' integrated' to my ears -
When I heard it I was ( foolishly ) amazed that Stevie
would come up with that .
I have different ears of course...but IF you listen to the Van Halen Solo on ' Beat It 'AND play back the Solo in your mind as an Alto Sax Solo - it's total Fusion ...
Or not ...the Audience or Client is never wrong.
I once asked a Jazz Guitar Professor who headed the UM Jazz Guitar school ( Randall Dollahon )what he thought of Steely Dan - he said ' Well...they're Jazz '.
I saw Randall performing in a R&B Group in Miami called ' Kepler ' and his comping and Solos all were monstrous ...he did not perform much after that but when playing Earth Wind and Fire or Stevie Tunes ...he could use full Jazz Comping Skills and very very advanced C.S.T. skills - that did not sound like CST way back in late 70's early 80's - he was amazing in that context including his comping ...
04-27-2018, 10:29 PM #61
There's value to be found in digital music, but I feel there are also pitfalls.
04-27-2018, 10:35 PM #62
04-29-2018, 12:04 AM #63
As for Steely Dan, just love 'em. Aja is probably one of my top 10 records of all time.[/QUOTE]
Agreed, love 'em too.
Aja is a great album to play guitar with, picked up some nice chops from that album. But as far as simply listening, I gotta give "Gaucho" my vote as the best Steely Dan album, period.
04-29-2018, 10:15 AM #64
04-29-2018, 04:29 PM #65
04-29-2018, 04:45 PM #66
I'm not a huge fan of Gaucho ... it lacks the fire that made their earlier efforts so much more unpredictable, to my ears.
04-29-2018, 05:20 PM #67
04-29-2018, 08:10 PM #68
04-29-2018, 09:05 PM #69
I could be wrong but I remember reading that Becker wasn't around for all of Gaucho. It seems there were drug issues and girlfriend issues......plus he got hit by a cab!
There were also problems with the copyright of the track "Gaucho". It seems that the groove or feel was a little too similar to a Kieth Jarret track.
From a web article.....
"The first sign of trouble occurred in March, 1979 when MCA gobbled up ailing ABC Records and promptly shut down the label. They looked at Steely Dan’s old ABC contract and determined they were owed one more album, and had the resources to wage that battle with the band and with Warner Brothers. A fight ensued, but MCA prevailed.It was also during this time when Walter Becker went through a real rough patch in his personal life. The nasty narcotics habit he picked up on the West Coast was affecting his work, and in January 1980, his girlfriend was found dead in their apartment from a drug overdose, prompting a lawsuit slapped on Becker from her family. Just a few months after the overdose, Becker suffered serious injuries when a cab struck him as he was crossing a street in NYC. It took six months to recover, which happened during the time when the album entered into the crucial mixing phase. The sonic similarity between Gaucho and Fagen’s Nightfly from two years later suggests to me, at least, that Gaucho lacked some of Becker’s usual dose of artistic input.
Speaking of lawsuits, the duo got sideways with the jazz pianist Keith Jarrett — never one who shies away from confronting all slights real and perceived — for borrowing just a little too much of his 1974 song “Long As You Know You’re Living Yours” for Gaucho‘s title track. Jarrett sued and Becker and Fagen reportedly paid him a cool million to keep his name out of the songwriter credits.
Moreover, the obsession over studio perfection reached its apex during the recording of this album. With so many of rock’s finest drumming moments scattered among their first six albums, they sought even greater heights on Gaucho, heavily using click tracks and running through countless hours of takes with full bands just to get the drum track nailed down (sometimes, the best parts of the various drum takes were spliced together). They brought in up to a half dozen different rhythm sections to record a song, disposing of endless hours of takes by entire ensembles in pursuit of the sacred take. All-world guitarists like Mark Knopfler and Rick Derringer were barely noticed on the finished album after nearly all of their contributions were edited out. Little wonder that Gaucho is a very sterile recording; its greatest strength is also arguably its biggest weakness.
So, yes, it was extremely hard to get a track that passed muster with the Becker and Fagen, along with producer Gary Katz and engineer Roger Nichols. One track that did — and one that Katz and Nichols were particularly excited about — was a song called “The Second Arrangement.” But this track didn’t see release on Gaucho, or anywhere else. Why? Good question, and there’s a simple explanation for that: in late December, 1979, a junior engineer accidentally erased about 75% of the track. There were attempts to re-record it but none of those takes were satisfactory to Becker and Fagen, so they abandoned the song altogether.
Ultimately, Gaucho overcame all of these challenges: it went platinum and reached the Top Ten in the U.S. Hot 100 album chart. “Hey Nineteen” became a top ten single, too, and “Time Out Of Mind” was another hit song for them. “Third World Man” served as a stand-in for “The Second Arrangement,” and it ended up being one of their best-ever deep cuts. These achievements were capped by yet another Grammy for “Best Non-Classical Engineered Recording.” Not insignificant accomplishments in a time where punk, new wave and disco rose up and took over as a backlash against rock of the artier kind was in full swing. So in the end, Steely Dan shook off all that bad mojo and life was good again.
Except, of course, for this 19+ year drought of no new studio releases that followed."