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Various Artists: The Royal Dan – A Tribute

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan are the kings of sophisticated, sensual pop-jazz with smart, smarmy and sarcastic lyrics. If you’ve ever wondered what their pleasing music would sound like without the lyrics but with aggressive rock-jazz musicianship, wait no more. Producer Jeff Richman assembled the kings of today’s edgy jazz-fusion to turn cream into grit: drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Jimmy Haslip, keys-and-horn man Peter Wolf, saxophonist Ernie Watts and Richman himself on rhythm guitar. But that’s just the backing band. This is a guitar CD, with Richman taking the lead on “Peg” and inviting nine other guitarists to let their fingers substitute for Fagen and Becker’s vocals.

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