The band Steely Dan made a name for itself by creating a highbrow brand of slick, funky rock music that was heavily influenced by jazz. The core of the band has always been a duo comprised of singer and pianist Donald Fagen and guitarist Walter Becker, but the hallmark of their records is a seldom matched level of perfectionism in the recording studio — a characteristic which sometimes meant that any given song would feature performances by dozens of musicians.
After Steely Dan’s popularity peaked in the late 1970s, Becker and Fagen would step away from the band and return to it multiple times for tours and the occasional album, but they were anything but prolific. The band’s 2000 album “Two Against Nature” won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Steely Dan followed it up with “Everything Must Go” three years later but the band hasn’t released anything since 2003.
But Steely Dan fans can rejoice.
Last week, Fagen released “Sunken Condos,” his fourth solo album since 1982 and first since 2006. The album is replete with Fagen’s unique brand of wry lyrics, as well the kind of dry and meticulous production and complex chord structures that fans of his music will find familiar.
What makes Donald Fagen and Steely Dan albums so instantly recognizable?
Donald Fagen, musician, songwriter and co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning act, Steely Dan; his fourth album, Sunken Condos, was released on October 16th, 2012