Friday Night Jazz: The Making of Peg

B000002ore01_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_I’ve always been a huge Steely Dan fan, so I especially enjoyed putting together this Friday nite jazz twofer.

(Yes, I am aware this is jazz/pop, and not pure Jazz).

First, the Citizen Steely Dan: 1972-1980  contains what may very well be the best Amazon review I have ever come across. The 4 CD box set itself is simply all of the Dan’s studio releases compiled on 4 discs. Simply stated, its one of the greatest catalogues in the annals of pop/jazz music history. 

The review sums up the box set thusly:

"As should be expected, Steely Dan’s four-disc box set isn’t like all the other rectangular pop-music retrospectives/tombstones. Not for Messrs. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen the typically bloated, ego-jacking crate padded out with childhood recordings, suspect cassette demos, and broken-down session takes, annotated by candid snapshots purloined from some distant relative. Nope, this is simply Dan Mach 1’s complete oeuvre, from the craft-conscious pop of Can’t Buy a Thrill to the jazzy torpor of Gaucho, laid out chronologically and neatly compressed into four discs, with not even a handful of "bonus" cuts (a live recording of "Bodhisattva," a ’71 demo of "Everyone’s Gone to the Movies" with Flo and Eddie on the side, "Here at the Western World," a Royal Scam outtake, and their obligatory soundtrack cameo, "FM") to color outside the lines. The liner notes are suitably smart, even if they occasionally strain trying to stay astride of B&F’s patent sardonicism. For the aspiring Steely Dan completist, a fine place to start."
-Jerry McCulley

I can’t find anything in there I disagree with.

If you are somehow unfamiliar with the Dan, avoid the greatest hits discs. The way to check them out is a random album; I suggest either Countdown To Ecstasy or Katy Lied BEFORE you hit the pristine studio exercises like Aja or Gaucho. All of these are a mere $2 or $3 used. If you find you like them, then you must own the 4 CD box set.

Up second, this fascinating exposition about the studio wizardary of the Dan during the glory years:

via YouTube



UPDATE  Februrary 24, 2007 7:53pm EST

I forgot to mention, I saw them this Summer at Jones Beach Theater, August 17, 2006. Awesome show! I threw the playlist up and a few camera phone snaps

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. MarkTX commented on Feb 23

    This is an AWESOME boxset Barry !!!!

    Everything but their very late stuff and/or Live audio is here in one purchase.

    The only shame (my opinion) is that I know Michael Mcdonald is somewhere (very miniscule) in the box set but i refuse to acknowledge his prescence…and therefore it is

    Steely Dan -Ex- M. Mcdonald (Ha Ha)

    have a great weekend

  2. alexd commented on Feb 23


    Do you consider the origin of the name of the group to be inside information?

    Finally got to see them a few years back. I would go see them again no problemo.

    Also any of you denizens of the NYC region google “Afroskull” It is a local band that plays occasionally at the Parkside Lounge. A combo of Zappa/Hawaii5 O/ And the Funk of the late but great James Brown. Their website has mp3’s and links to downloadable concerts. I am a former NYC citizen but now live in the fridged and in perpetual recession MI (or until the auto industry gets it’s act together) so I envy you the opportunity.

  3. Mike commented on Feb 23

    Fantastic video and Fantastic write up on one of the best box sets this genre ever produced!
    Interesting to note that Steely Dan was never as much a group as it was simply Walter and Donald playing with an ever changing (and extremely talented) set of studio musicians!

  4. Peter commented on Feb 23

    Steely Dan was and is awesome.
    Also listen to Donald Fagen’s solo album from last year- ‘Morph the Cat’.

  5. Barry Ritholtz commented on Feb 23

    Alex D — its a pretty well know “secret” :

    For those who don’t know, Steely Dan was the name of the steam-powered dildo in William Buruough’s book, Naked Lunch.

  6. Clark Kent commented on Feb 23

    Really appreciate this Dan Video.

    Here’s another gem:

    John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchel:

    Yer Blues

  7. howard commented on Feb 24

    Steely Dan were living proof in the ’70s that excessive cocaine use didn’t have to harm your music, and when CDs first showed up, i always said that Steely Dan were one of the groups for whom the medium was invented, but barry, if you’re going to do friday night jazz, do friday night jazz, like, fer instance, this charlie parker clip a friend sent me recently:

    now that’s jazz!

  8. Uncle Fester commented on Feb 24

    I hope it is released Down Under, I am a huge fan, would love to see these guys live…

  9. tmcgee commented on Feb 24

    fantastic. thanks barry. i don’t agree with a lot you say financial-wise these days and sometimes feel you’ve fallen under the sorcery of the roubini types of the world, but i love the blog just the same. especially for posts like this. thanks!

  10. VJ commented on Feb 24

    All I gotta say is:


  11. The Big Picture commented on Jun 11

    The Making of Steely Dan’s Aja

    While waiting for last night’s Soprano’s to start, I decided to pop in a DVD I had lying around: Steely Dan – The Making of Aja. Since someone else is sure to bring it up in comments, let’s deal with the finale: Creator/writer/director David Chase made…

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