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  1. #1

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    Came across this on YouTube. I thought it was very well done:

    My teacher said "It's not working out. You might as well just go and buy yourself some jazz records and learn whatcha wanna know that way." [Smiling] "So that's what I did!" - Ed Bickert

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    ES-175VOSsp..SadowskySemi..Ibanez S6521Q w/GK3..DV Mark LJ..Dispatch Master V2..Atomic CLR..BossGP10..Line6.G10
    https://soundcloud.com/user852059642/tracks

  4. #3

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    Thanks, jakeyboy1216! That was ultra-hip.

  5. #4
    One of my favourite songs of all time.
    I think I first heard it when I was 19.
    Gave me shivers. Still does.

    Great video although after reading Steely Dan's own description of the "Mu Major" chord (in one of their songbooks) it was clear that they were pulling everyone's chain. A little joke to fool the peasants so to speak.

  6. #5

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    Is this the bit you recall, Philco? I haven't read it carefully yet, but I look forward to doing so.

    Intro to the Song Book

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Flat View Post
    Is this the bit you recall, Philco? I haven't read it carefully yet, but I look forward to doing so.

    Intro to the Song Book

    Yeah that's it. Tongue planted firmly in cheek!

  8. #7

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    I walked in by chance on a Steely Dan rehearsal before I knew who they were. The year was around 1972 or '73. I was visiting a girlfriend at Bard College in upstate New York just before a John Abercrombie concert. We happened to walk into a music auditorium where the guys who would become Steely Dan were practicing. Who knew? Abercrombie was quite good by the way.
    Last edited by targuit; 04-27-2016 at 11:00 PM.

  9. #8

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    I still don't really like Steely Dan, which is annoying, because I feel I should.

    Sorry guys.

    Great little docu though. I like the fact that he got Perotin in there: my nerdgasm was hideous to behold.

  10. #9

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    To appreciate Steely Dan you had to hear what was happening contemporaneously. They had a kind of hip, inside joke sound with hints of jazz, horns, and hip lyrics. Not to mention some pretty good guitarists for the time. But not everyone's taste.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by targuit View Post
    To appreciate Steely Dan you had to hear what was happening contemporaneously. They had a kind of hip, inside joke sound with hints of jazz, horns, and hip lyrics. Not to mention some pretty good guitarists for the time. But not everyone's taste.
    They tick many boxes. And yet the totality doesn't do it for me. I think the fault is mine :-)

  12. #11

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    You are entitled to your preferences as well as your opinions.

    There is a substantial portion of popular music which I do not enjoy, no matter how many tattoos they have.

  13. #12

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    Sometimes we just don't like stuff it seems like we'd have no reason NOT to like.

    Like me and those "Poll Winners" albums

    As for Steely Dan, just love 'em. Aja is probably one of my top 10 records of all time.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  14. #13

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    you like the poll winners trust me

  15. #14

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    Separately, yes. Those albums they made together? Snore. I even went back and listened recently, because my bias against them came up in another thread, so I figured I owed it to myself and the forum to give 'em another try.

    Just my opinion, don't get out the torches
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  16. #15

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    OK Peg's a good tune. It's just come on the stereo in the pub I'm at - they're playing the Dan's greatest hits.... Perhaps I just need to listen to more of it...

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by targuit View Post
    To appreciate Steely Dan you had to hear what was happening contemporaneously. They had a kind of hip, inside joke sound with hints of jazz, horns, and hip lyrics. Not to mention some pretty good guitarists for the time. But not everyone's taste.
    considering SD was only 2 guys in essence .. as for the "pretty good" guitarists..they were and ARE good for any time...try doing one of their solos..most of them were 'go to " studio players-Larry Carlton, "skunk" baxter .. that caliber of player..their recording sessions, as told by some that were there..were more like "clean room" experiments..

    the MU chords(suspended..add9..was their "sound" and they placed it in odd places..not always by plan I suspect..

    I enjoy MOST of their work..some of it..the dogs don't even like...
    play well ...
    wolf

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Sometimes we just don't like stuff it seems like we'd have no reason NOT to like.

    Like me and those "Poll Winners" albums

    As for Steely Dan, just love 'em. Aja is probably one of my top 10 records of all time.
    Well. I've loved 'em since seeing them in '74 twice , with Denny Diaz ,Jeff Baxter Jeff Porcaro.
    etc., our eldest son, & grand daughter also love 'em but they were too young to see them live.
    shocked that Jeff Porcaro died aged 38 in '92. IMO they set the standard. But the Lex Lab band
    do a great job on their covers,

  19. #18

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    Why don't you ask the Lexington Lab guy?
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    Why don't you ask the Lexington Lab guy?
    Ouch! ;o)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    Why don't you ask the Lexington Lab guy?
    What do you mean?

  22. #21

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    When this came out, I was 14 and I heard this on a transistor radio tuned to an AM station in Nashville, Tennessee. That opening solo knocked me out and it still does.




    Here's a TV version---the band is introduced by Bill Cosby. Denny Diaz takes Elliott Randall's place here.

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  23. #22

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    Didn't listen to the TV version but just played along to the album cut here. Reminds me why I like them. Smart lyrics, great singing and groove. Great guitars in rock context. Still fun to sing and perform even today.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    Why don't you ask the Lexington Lab guy?
    Ask what precisely?

  25. #24

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    Donald Fagen is a genius when it comes to writing songs and the lyrics have real meaning as well

  26. #25

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    I was fan back in the day long before Aja came out. Looking back I guess that it might have been a good thing for one of my sisters to steal that album from me for her own pleasure. Her taste in music probably never got any more sophisticated. The songs on it received a lot of air play anyway. I began to grow tired of them and still would rather hear stuff from other albums.

  27. #26

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    I wore out Aja, and most of those songs still resonate today. Aja itself is just one of the best jazz songs ever written, IMHO.

    All their pre-hiatus stuff was and remains excellent.

  28. #27

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    I've always thought in the History of Rock probably the most gifted Songwriters were the Beatles and probably the most skilled Songwriters were Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder...not worth debating and not scientific and there's others you could throw in.

    But if there was a Contest and someone had to compose 10' Standards 'each in the Style of one of the top Tin Pan Alley Songwriters that wrote the 'Standards' you guys play ...( Irving Berlin...Jerome Kerns...Gershwin...etc. etc.)
    And they were supposed to sound like they were composed by each of the '10' during the Era ( Vocal Tunes )- I'd bet on Steely Dan ( Fagen/Becker ) winning the Contest ...over all the College Professors and Composers of Today.

    To the OP...I have no idea how Steely Dan wrote their Songs...but I imagine in a number of ways...
    If you are writing Vocal Music...to avoid getting lost in Infinity it often helps to start with the something you know ..the Chords or the first two or three and see if you ' hear ' something ..or the lyrics etc or the first Melody notes you are 'hearing' mentally - something stable to work from.
    But for Pop Vocal Tunes- to be a Pro..I think starting from the 'Hook' also known as the Chorus- LYRICS is the best way to start ...the words and style suggest the Rhythms and Chords and you sing it different ways until one melody/ rhythm comes to Life ...the words suggest a lot of things and narrow the choices.
    If it's a Jingle...the 'Tag Line ' is the Hook..
    EXAMPLE-
    "I will love you through the darkness-
    I will love you in the light "

    There's the Hook ..

    now you can "hear " it as a smooth Bossa Nova

    ...you can "hear" it as a Chugga Chugga Metal Song with the guy screaming the Lyrics ( and the " light" is the white light at death...lol)

    You can 'hear' it as a Modern R&B Beyonce type Song with the Rhythmically chopped up staccato Melodies.
    etc etc etc.

    By throwing the Hook at you and a few Styles..many can already ' hear' the Melody Melodic Rhythm and the arrangement and chord structure of each Genre.
    If you have a book of your strongest Hooks/ Choruses..
    you can use a strong Chorus as a Country Tune...or an R&B Tune or a Jazz Tune and each Genre will suggest the rhythmic phrasing and Melody of those same words and the Chords that go underneath.

    Sometimes the Chords are first ..wild guess but it sounds to me like the Verses for 'Reelin' In the Years' were written AFTER the IV iii ii I progression was being played on the Piano then he went up a fourth diatonically to the " you wouldn't know a diamond if you held it in your hand" using the Chords as the 'Frame' for the Melody and fit the Lyrics to it...
    But Becker / Fagen are Musical Geniuses and I am not...
    And anyone who writes a lot ..different things happen - some on the Instrument and some purely in the mind.
    Some on paper.
    For Pop ..starting with the Hook First is really helpful IMO because you know you have something strong to work with and as I said it narrows the almost infinite choices in a good way.

    I am now trying to write Instrumental Stuff ( no vocals) and it' s trickier to ( for me ) remember the Melodies and write Melodies worth remembering..with no Lyrics to hold the Melody in space and in Mind.

    Sounds crazy but the best way to write 'catchy' or memorable distinctive recognizable Instrumental Tunes may be to write Vocal Tunes first..
    It's easier when there are sung Lyrics to make something memorable or commanding in many ways IMO.
    For a " non Jazz" person who grew up on Rock and R&B a few very strong instantly memorable Instrumentals were " Night Train" 'Green Onions' 'Mercy Mercy '
    'Soul Serenade' and' Take the A Train'. And" Take Five".
    'Night Train' for me has Rock and Roll ,R&B, Jazz and a great groove all in one ..as does Take Five ( no Rock and Roll but still great groove)..

    Oh yeah...IMO one of the best compliments a Guitar Player can get is to be nominated for or win a Grammy...and or be invited to play on a Steely Dan Album.

    Carlton is a great Guitarist/ Soloist but did NOT contribute to the Jazziness of Steely Dan...they had the full Jazz Vocabulary Plus already..
    Guitars in Josie - the Intro was written out for the Guitarist...Carlton calls them ' Genius '.

    Writing Harmonically complex Music is much much easier and more Common than writing profound Music that is instantly (or nearly so -) memorable to many listeners...
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 07-11-2017 at 09:42 AM.

  29. #28

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    Late 1977...

    intense times, great stories in the making and Steely Dan's 'Aja.'

    I been a lucky bunny.

  30. #29

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    I used to like them when i was younger and before my jazz listening days. Even then, I was only drawn to the great guitar solos, not the vocals, lyrics or any of the songwriting per se.

    They are more colorful, interesting than alot of other pop rock bands out there, but Id take any kind of straight ahead jazz any day of the year over Steely Dan now. It is pretentious pop, IMO, not really jazz or jazz rock even.

  31. #30

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    These days, 40 plus years after Steely Dan's peak, it seems like the recording process itself can be an integral part of composition, especially with software like Logic. I don't listen to tons of pop but lots of what I hear doesn't sound like it was composed by someone sitting around with a guitar or at a piano. And even if it is I hear it as less of a reliance on standard functional progressions but more based on a rhythmic thing or washy synth mid range grooves. It doesn't sound like they are aiming for a traditional lead, rhythm, bass, drums sound. It was mentioned on another thread that there is a tendency to even leave 3rds out of chords. Steely Dan may have been one of the pioneers or this sort of thing with the Mu chord. Or The Who with the suspended Tommy Chord.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    These days, 40 plus years after Steely Dan's peak, it seems like the recording process itself can be an integral part of composition, especially with software like Logic. I don't listen to tons of pop but lots of what I hear doesn't sound like it was composed by someone sitting around with a guitar or at a piano. And even if it is I hear it as less of a reliance on standard functional progressions but more based on a rhythmic thing or washy synth mid range grooves. It doesn't sound like they are aiming for a traditional lead, rhythm, bass, drums sound. It was mentioned on another thread that there is a tendency to even leave 3rds out of chords. Steely Dan may have been one of the pioneers or this sort of thing with the Mu chord. Or The Who with the suspended Tommy Chord.
    I honestly think this is because most pop/rnb musicians/producers these days don't know what they are doing. They dont have a lot of theoretical/musical knowledge and are relying basically on what sounds good to them. Some producers dont even play an instrument! A lot of these "grooves" are loops from various loop libraries pasted together.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtaylor2714 View Post
    They dont have a lot of theoretical/musical knowledge and are relying basically on what sounds good to them.
    Heaven forfend.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarplayer007 View Post
    Donald Fagen is a genius when it comes to writing songs and the lyrics have real meaning as well
    from Reelin'"...the weekend at the college didn't turn out as you planned..the things that pass for knowledge I can't understand.."

    from Peg:

    I like your picture
    I keep it with your letter
    Done up in blueprint blue
    It sure looks good on you

    now there are thousands of songs with blue as a reference...but "blueprint" blue..ahhh that is a cool take and a great image..

    these guys wrote some very hip songs with lots of innuendo and "inside" references...there was an article that said the Dan had a "tit for tat" with the Eagles..who replied to one of their lines in Hotel California...

    And in the master's chambers
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives
    But they just can't kill the beast

    all in all..the Dan had fun..
    play well ...
    wolf

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen View Post
    these guys wrote some very hip songs with lots of innuendo and "inside" references...there was an article that said the Dan had a "tit for tat" with the Eagles..who replied to one of their lines in Hotel California...

    .
    Yeah, in "Everything You Did" (from "The Royal Scam") the jealous narrator tells her, "Turn up The Eagles, the neighbors are listenin'." I don't think it a flattering reference.

    (Very cool guitar, of course.)

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  36. #35

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    Another very distinctive intro which they wrote out for Guitar.

    On the Tune " Josie ".



    I don't know much about Standards but the Harmonic Sophistication of Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder as I ' ve said before are probably the closest we have gotten and probably surpassed in some ways people like Jerome Kerns,Cole Porter , Irving Berlin.
    And even one of the Dan's simpler Tunes- ' Reelin in the Years' verse chords- not merely chaining a bunch of ii- V-I s together- it's unique and sounds really good.

    Obviously for strong melodies that are memorable to everyone Multiple Hooks in one Tune - we had the Beatles but I was speaking of Harmonic Composition Chops..re Steely Dan.

    The guy in the Video fell for the MuMajor thing (lol) missing out on the common tone/ and deceptive cadences and great orchestrations/ guitar work.. in Steely Dan's Music.

    Hell I used add 9 chords in the lower octave ( add 2 )on Acoustic Guitar when just hunting for cool voicings as a kid long before Steely Dan -nothing to do with Jazz...just cause it was there and I am no genius .


    That silly little chord is NOT the essence of Steely Dan's sound or Genius although I liked parts of the Video .

    To me- Steely Dan's Genius is they used Chord Progressions and Devices that are rarely heard on Pop Tunes and made them sound great.

    And Musical Devices that have never been used on Pop Tunes or maybe ever on any Recording.

    Some college Jazz Professors people call Steely Dan "Jazz".

    To me they were the Ultimate Fusion- you can't tell where the Rock ends and the Jazz begins...I don't care about labels ..but they created some great stuff IMO and very unique.

    Those Guys could write almost anything and the CHOSE their styles drawing from the entire Pallete ...
    Different from almost everyone else .

    So for me Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder were the ultimate Fusion.
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 06-19-2016 at 07:49 PM.

  37. #36

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    Remember that Led Zeppelin lawsuit? One thing you gotta say about Steely Dan, they'd never stoop so low as to try to get away with stealing somebody else's music. I guess they can claim all jazz sounds alike or jazz is so obscure that nobody'd ever notice.




    Ha. The sincerest form of flattery?
    David

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    Remember that Led Zeppelin lawsuit? One thing you gotta say about Steely Dan, they'd never stoop so low as to try to get away with stealing somebody else's music. I guess they can claim all jazz sounds alike or jazz is so obscure that nobody'd ever notice.

    Ha. The sincerest form of flattery?
    I think "Gaucho" is much better. They also copped the intro vamp to "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" from Horace Silver's "Song For My Father."
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  39. #38

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    Well...
    I am not an **Attorney BUT-
    One of the main principles of
    Copywright Law is :

    You can Copywright the Lyrics and the Melody but NOT the Chord Progression.

    And no one pointed out this Fact on all the News Stories where they played the opening chords to both Tunes on the recent Led Zeppelin vs Spirit Copywright Lawsuit.

    There is a Logic behind this - Laws used to be very logical often lol.

    Because there are only a few relatively speaking Chord Progressions and ways to voice them and EVERYONE would be infringing on everyone else every time you played or Recorded Rhythm Changes you would be plagiarizing "I Got Rhythm".

    So a clever Lawyer could probably get that overtuned but it might cost more than the Settlement.

    I be would be my own Defense and get a Music Professor to demonstrate to Jury that every chord Progression is derivative of Beethoven Bach and Brahms and if they don't use common sense- there will be NO future Beatles...lol..and 400 other examples....
    I would win probably.

    Or the thousands of Tunes like ' Michelle ' with a descending minor voice in the chords would all be infringing on the first one to use this progression.

    Theoretically - I could take Stairway To Heaven the exact voicing and put a different Melody on it and call it ' 'Contrary Blues' and no infringement.

    *This would become known as 'Stairway Changes' and become a Standard in Jazz just like' Rhythm Changes'...

    * not really likely -this is the 'entertainment portion ' of my Post .

    ** I wrote and Produced quite a few Jingles when quite young so I did have Proposals/ Releases that cleared the Corporate and Legal Departments .

    So you can't Copywright a I -vi - -ii - V BUT stick a Melody on there - and you CAN.

    Once a Melody Copies too many exact notes of another Composition as in My Sweet Lord George Harrison..and I think ' He's So Fine ( girl group R&B)
    it can be Ruled ' Infringment' by a Court.

    But even a clever voicing is usually not Copywrightable because there would be endless litigation and we would run out of voicings - .
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 07-11-2017 at 09:11 AM.

  40. #39

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    Very good Mark ! Touche'

  41. #40

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    I love the Dan. Saw 'em in 03 in Santa Barbara, it was musically-speaking the best show I've ever attended -- perfect sound, fantastic playing, and great songs.

    I've been writing songs since I picked up a guitar. I've learnt a hell of a lot about songcraft listening to their body of work, both musically and lyrically. I discovered them about six years into my guitarin', and though I was busy studying shred, loved the many, many styles represented by the sessioneers they had. That, ahem, reeled me in ... but the songwriting kept me there.

  42. #41

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    Or the similarity in changes of The Beatles "Here, There, And Everywhere" and Dan Fogelberg's "Longer". There was also another group out in the early 2000's with nearly the same progression.

    Yeah, I like Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and host of other music including rock, jazz, r&b, etc. etc.. No one else needs to, and I don't get offended by those who don't like what I do.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa View Post
    Hmmm. You Guys that don't like Steely Dan have heard the Tune with Wayne Shorter blowing the Solo ?

    It's cool if you don't- just making sure you've heard it....
    That would be "Aja". They opened up the Santa Barbara show referenced above with it. Fabulous tune, holding great guitarin' from Denny Dias, blowing courtesy of Wayne, and the only drum solo i've ever loved -- Steve Gadd kicks the s*** out of his kit, first solo at 4:40 under Wayne's great lines (the stick-click at 4:55 always kills me), second drum solo at 6:56 for the outro. Incredibly musical at both spots, really drives the tune.

    Last edited by Thumpalumpacus; 07-22-2016 at 08:02 AM.

  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus View Post
    That would be "Aja". They opened up the Santa Barbara show referenced above with it. Fabulous tune, holding great guitarin' from Denny Dias, blowing courtesy of Wayne, and the only drum solo i've ever loved -- Steve Gadd kicks the s*** out of his kit, first solo at 4:40 under Wayne's great lines (the stick-click at 4:55 always kills me), second drum solo at 6:56 for the outro. Incredibly musical at both spots, really drives the tune.

    [
    I think Steve Gadd received a Grammy for that solo.

    That song (another fave of all time) taught me that harmonic complexity will work in a pop sense if delivered with melody and heart......and balanced with a rock approach (read-"simple") non cheesy and gruff vocal.
    The Dan always got that balance right.

    .......and the lyric........!!!

  45. #44

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    I hear a lot of blues form in Steely Dan, in fact a lot of Fagan's stuff. Sometimes its straight 12 bar (Weather in my Head) , the A secton to Peg , sometimes its more RnB 16 bar forms out of the Ray Charles or Curtis Mayfield frame...one things for sure, those guys were influenced by Soul and R'n'B. Larry Carlton had a lot to do with the Jazziness when he started working with the band. I remember him saying that he MD'd and arranged much of Aja.
    When Shorter starts playing that break with Gadd it still makes my hair stand on end.
    Last edited by gator811; 08-11-2016 at 09:49 AM.

  46. #45

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    How Steely Dan composes a song

    How Steely Dan Composes A Song-mad_scientist-300x274-jpg

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by gator811 View Post
    I hear a lot of blues form in Steely Dan, in fact a lot of Fagan's stuff...
    Me too.
    Here's a great example, from the "Katy Lied" album.


    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  48. #47

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    And another bluesy outing from the same album.

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  49. #48

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    Larry's playing on DDLiTNYCNM was a big influence on me -- working the maj3 against the 6 and dom7.
    Last edited by Thumpalumpacus; 08-12-2016 at 02:05 AM.

  50. #49

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    speaking about great soloists playing with SD please check Chris Potter's huuuge solo on West oF Hollywood -
    not to mention crazy chord changes:


    if that is pop music I go for it anytime...

  51. #50

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    I dig these vids with Fagen. You really get an insight into his harmonic thinking on some of the SD tunes:


    (^^^^^^^go to youtube to see the full set of these)





    Last edited by wildschwein; 07-11-2017 at 03:36 AM.