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  1. #1

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    Reading the book "Reelin in the Years"...The number of great players who made it to the studio, maybe not the final cut is pretty impressive. They took the jazz template of "we don't need a set band", which for a "rock" group at the time was unheard of. Let alone the we don't tour, because we need time to write attitude, was unheard of . If the guys they brought in weren't the best musicians for that particular cut, sometimes for that two bars (or less) it didn't make the album. The interviews with Bernard Purdie are interesting.They loved Larry Carlton for obvious reasons. Always loved this band...

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    My favorite band, to this day. They were my side door into jazz: it was a very short step from something like Aja or Katy Lied to my Dad’s Brubeck and Wes records.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by L50EF15
    My favorite band, to this day. They were my side door into jazz: it was a very short step from something like Aja or Katy Lied to my Dad’s Brubeck and Wes records.
    Same here - I went from SD to Return To Forever, Stanley, Al Di, Chick, and jazz radio, which took me off the cliff into guys like Bill Evans, Kenton, Brubeck, etc.

    BTW, you'd probably like DFs recent book Eminent Hipsters; if you get it on Audible, DF himself reads it.

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    Smart move: Victor Feldman on Do It Again.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    Reading the book "Reelin in the Years"...The number of great players who made it to the studio, maybe not the final cut is pretty impressive. They took the jazz template of "we don't need a set band", which for a "rock" group at the time was unheard of. Let alone the we don't tour, because we need time to write attitude, was unheard of . If the guys they brought in weren't the best musicians for that particular cut, sometimes for that two bars (or less) it didn't make the album. The interviews with Bernard Purdie are interesting.They loved Larry Carlton for obvious reasons. Always loved this band...
    I wondered how they paid these top musicians..and did the label give them carte blanche on time and budget..I cant imagine what it would cost to bring in the top players

    they had Wayne Shorter on some tracks..and Carlton and other top guitarist with less well know names outside of the studio musician world (jay graydon on Peg)..and keyboard players and singers (Michael McDonald) and the back up singers..and the studio engineers and tech guys

    and their "song writing" lyrics ..have yet to hear anyone try and copy that style..as simple as the tune may sound ..the tunes Dirty Work and Dont Take Me Alive are still some of my faves

    so Im curious if anyone has any info on the production cost of a SD album...

  7. #6

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    Listened to their first 3 albums yesterday...masterpieces. Countdown to Ecstasy is one of my all time favorites for stretched out guitar solos. Off the charts awesome.

    BTW, I listened to a couple of recordings by Fagen and Becker which were demos for some of their SD work—sounded awful. Yes I know what demos are. But how you take a turd like the demo for Any World I’m Welcome To and polish it into the finished product...must be real genius.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    Reading the book "Reelin in the Years"...The number of great players who made it to the studio, maybe not the final cut is pretty impressive. They took the jazz template of "we don't need a set band", which for a "rock" group at the time was unheard of. Let alone the we don't tour, because we need time to write attitude, was unheard of . If the guys they brought in weren't the best musicians for that particular cut, sometimes for that two bars (or less) it didn't make the album. The interviews with Bernard Purdie are interesting.They loved Larry Carlton for obvious reasons. Always loved this band...
    Is this the book by Brian Sweet? A search is showing 2 books with the same title (plus the album)?

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by cmajor9
    Is this the book by Brian Sweet? A search is showing 2 books with the same title (plus the album)?
    Yes, Brian Sweet is the author. It's very well researched.

  10. #9

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    I haven't read this book. Need to. Been into SD since I heard "Reelin' In The Years" on an AM radio.


  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I haven't read this book. Need to. Been into SD since I heard "Reelin' In The Years" on an AM radio.

    Ah, the old Midnight Special...used to watch it religiously. Some great performances there—the first time most of us had ever seen those groups other than the pictures on their albums.

    A couple of thoughts...

    The mind boggles at how primitive the stage and presentations were. They had the silly idea you just put a bunch of musicians on a wood plank, shine some bright lights on them, power up the amps, and put microphones in front of the guys who don’t really know how to play an instrument. No special effects, makeup, costumes, video presentations, or operatic mugging by the musicians, just playing music like they were in their basement. So archaic!

    I want purple velvet overalls like Denny Dias has. And a Yosemite Sam mustache like Skunk has.

    I am thinking of a parallel universe, where this group (minus David Palmer, who while a nice enough singer, didn’t really provide an edge for SD in the direction they were heading) continued playing together and recording and performing live for a couple of decades until breaking up acrimoniously, then reuniting for a huge tour of the US and Japan in 2008.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    I wondered how they paid these top musicians..and did the label give them carte blanche on time and budget..I cant imagine what it would cost to bring in the top players

    they had Wayne Shorter on some tracks..and Carlton and other top guitarist with less well know names outside of the studio musician world (jay graydon on Peg)..and keyboard players and singers (Michael McDonald) and the back up singers..and the studio engineers and tech guys
    .
    No hard figures, but Steve Khan talks about how the budget for Goucho was pretty unlimited:

    "After the release and immense success of "AJA," they decided they were going to record all of "GAUCHO" here in New York for some reason, and they wanted me to do it. So I did. It was the strangest thing because, as a Jazz musician, you're used to doing things fast. So here I am, booked for four weeks of dates. Five days a week, all day. The dates were going to be with four different drummers. I played the same songs, and all they cared about was getting good or usable drum tracks. They hardly listened to what I played. So we did a week with Jeff Porcaro, which was one of the best weeks of my life. I loved playing with Jeff. Then we did a week with Bernard Purdie. How bad could that be? Then we did a week with Rick Marotta, with whom I love playing. And we did a week with Chris Parker. The same 10 songs."

    I'd recommend anyone interested in Steely Dan's sessions read Khan's brief write-ups on his website:

    Reflections on Steely Dan's GAUCHO by Steve Khan
    Reflections on Steely Dan's AJA by Steve Khan
    Working with Walter Becker by Ron Hart

    Khan wasn't a huge part of the Steely Dan story, but he definitely got to see behind the curtain and became pretty friendly with Fagen during the course of their session work together from 78-82.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Listened to their first 3 albums yesterday...masterpieces. Countdown to Ecstasy is one of my all time favorites for stretched out guitar solos. Off the charts awesome.

    BTW, I listened to a couple of recordings by Fagen and Becker which were demos for some of their SD work—sounded awful. Yes I know what demos are. But how you take a turd like the demo for Any World I’m Welcome To and polish it into the finished product...must be real genius.
    Weren't the early demos done when Becker and Fagen worked as staff songwriters for ABC/Dunhill? That was a weird time to be working as an assembly-line writer, because music was in flux. They were probably hired because the label wasn't getting anywhere with writers who were cranking out Brill-building style tunes. In the way the movie studios were throwing money at young directors like Scorsese and Dennis Hopper because the old system was breaking down and they didn't know what was going to replace it.

    Other 70s icons who worked as staff writers before becoming famous: Lou Reed, Randy Newman, and of course Carole King.