But theirs is a purely affectionate homage. The same could be said of his bandmate, singer and keyboard player Donald Fagen. They were always looking for the perfect. When they finally recruited Graydon, he was ecstatic, as he relates in the interview above. Finally, it was a match:. Try to play the blues. Because B is in that chord. I play bluesy for a while.
Listening to pretty much any Steely Dan song can best be described as swaddling into a virtuosic sonic cocoon, welcoming a dozen-plus instrumentalists to take you on an unforgettable journey of rock bliss. In recognition of Fagen taking Steely Dan back to the Beacon Theater for another themed residency — Becker died last summer of cancer — Vulture compiled a few notable stories of what exactly it was like for musicians to work alongside The Dan and the crushing blows to their egos that ensued. All they were going for was the drum track.
Recording alongside nearly 40 musicians, band leaders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker pushed Steely Dan further into experimenting with different combinations of session players while pursuing longer, more sophisticated compositions for the album. It spawned a number of hit singles, including " Peg ", " Deacon Blues ", and " Josie ". It has since appeared frequently on professional rankings of the greatest albums, with critics and audiophiles applauding the album's high production standards. The album was produced by Steely Dan's longtime producer Gary Katz  and features several leading session musicians. The eight-minute-long title track features jazz-based changes and a solo by saxophonist Wayne Shorter.
Donald Fagen fronted Steely Dan but that was a matter of circumstance. Originally, both he and his partner Walter Becker intended to be pulling the strings from behind the curtains—they'd be the team writing the songs and divining the direction the band would head, while a pretty face would sing their pretty melodies. Once the duo decided that David Palmer, a part-time vocalist on the group's debut Can't Buy A Thrill , didn't quite jibe with their plan for the group, Fagen took over vocal duties but Becker remained somewhat in the shadows, especially after Steely Dan retired from the road in so they could craft albums with the best studio musicians money could buy. This raised a question: if Steely Dan could hire the best guitarists in the world, why would they need to Becker to play a solo? Once he and Fagen holed up in the studio, he started to play more guitar, not less, soloing on nearly half of their landmark Aja.