Donald Fagen carries on after the death of Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker. Info/tix
A casual dive into Steely Dan's 1977 album Aja might simply reveal an infectious pop-rock record, packed with smooth cuts, big hooks, and tasteful production. However, a deeper listen might not only clue you in to Donald Fagen and Walter Becker's keen ear for session players, but also their insane level of perfectionism—hear the twisted, jazzy chord progressions, unconventional vocal harmonies, and brainy guitar solos flooded with character and technique. When it comes to every angle of Steely Dan's music, one thing's certain—they never took the easiest route from A to B.
That said, the state of Steely Dan in 2018 is pretty bizarre. Fagen basically began touring again almost immediately after Becker passed away in fall of 2017 and took even less time to file a suit against Becker's estate. Also, Steely Dan still hasn't dropped a proper album since 2003's Everything Must Go. The band as a whole has been through its share of lineup changes and hired hands, but seeing it without one-half of its essential creative center seems bittersweet at best. —Joel Shanahan