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Was Steely Dan a big influence on 70s and 80s jazz?


Lush Life
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Yes, incredible Shorter solo. Great Vic Feldman appearances on some earlier albums.

Unfortunately I do not like anything Fagen & co. have done after Aja, including Gaucho and the Nightfly.

I had the privilege of seeing SD perform a few years ago and had never watched Fagen live before. It's definitely worth checking out.

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  • 1 year later...

Looking at this Steely Dan box set (from the mid-'90's) - Keith Jarrett shares a composer's credit on "Gaucho." First time I noticed that. (I also see Ray Brown's name in there somewhere on an early album.)

As noted in a couple of posts above, they pinched Jarrett's "Long As You Know Your'e Living Yours." He threatened to sue and subsequently got a co-composers credit.

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The more I think about it, the more I think that Steely Dan had a big influence on the type of fusion that followed the really nasty stuff, the "smoother" type fusion that was essentially pop groundings played with a jazz esthetic. But I don't think they were the only ones who influenced that type of music. But a lot of people who played on Steely Dan records also played on some of those records, and you know the way that works...people hear you on session A and they say, hey, come in here and do that here on Sessions B, C, and D. Then they say, hey, that thing you've been doing on other people's records, come in here and I'll produce one for you yourself, doing that same thing. And then finally, they themselves decide to produce one for somebody else doing the same thing that they've been doing, and that's right about the time that something else comes around, a new Session A, and the whole thing starts over again, at which point they go from playing stadiums to doing outdoor parks in the summer and that type thing.

So if you can think of that type thing as "jazz", then yeah. OTOH, I don't hear much Steely Dan influence in Air or WSQ, so...

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I think they influenced some rockers to appreciate jazz a bit more.

BTW, they did cop the groove on "Gaucho" from the Jarrett tune "ALAYLY", but Fagen did compose a great, original piece of music based on that groove. I used to listen to it and I thought the lyrics were some type of tribute to Borges.

When i went online to a SD website, I found out what it's really about- not that there's anything wrong with that...

IMHO, Fagen hit songwriting bliss on Aja,Gaucho and Nitefly, but was never able to get back there, including his new one, "Sunken Condos".

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Among the pop/rock of the era, Steely Dan was probably among the more palatable to many jazz musicians. From there to saying jazz of the time was "informed" by Steely Dan is a bit of a stretch. I don't think they were a big influence on jazz, although some aspects of jazz were a big influence on them.

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