Steely Dan – Steely Dan, AJA

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Steely Dan, AJA

The Classic Albums video is a treat for Dan fans too. It features current interviews with Fagen and Becker and some great talk with players on this 1976 classic. You get to hear from Larry Carlton, Chuck Rainey, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Rick Marotta, Dean Parks and even original Dan member Denny Dias, who despite having left the music field to work in computers, plays some wonderful guitar while being interviewed.

Fagen and Becker do some studio work separating tracks from the original masters, and that’s fascinating. You’re bound to smile when they isolate the bass line from “Black Crow” and Fagen starts rapping “Deja Vu” by Lord Tang and Peter Gunz, who sampled the lick for a rap hit.

You also hear Dan studio helpers Roger Nichols and Gary Katz. Plus journalists and musicians lan Dury and Andy Gill make appearances to talk about the band. This is a great video if you’re a fan. There are some annoying aspects to it, too. Silly shots of the “new” band in concert from the ’70s. All in all, this is a treasure trove for a band that was once known for its reclusiveness.

This review originally appeared in VG‘s Mar. ’01 issue.