Thursday, September 29, 2011

Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic

The band Steely Dan was founded by two friends Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Both were musicians and co-leaders of the group, together they were co-authors of great amount of songs. Best feature of the band was it’s jazzy harmonics and perfect sound precision with multidirectional influences aiming to the wide synthesis of American music. It was few years before in late Seventies American super group Steely Dan became as much disappointing for some rock-fans as great hope for popular music. Soft rock songs often with sarcastic lyrics combined with jazz, jazz-rock and elements of funky was their mark of identification. After success of their third album which was one of most perfect productions in rock history, musicians suspended concert tours for many years, focusing on studio recording, but 1974 album was really hard to conquer.

Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic (1974)

The third album of Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic became greatest success of the group. Reaching position in first ten of the charts record went gold and then platinum. The song opening this album – sung by Donald Fagen Rikki Don’t Lose That Number – was introduced by riff taken from Horace Silver’s Song for my Father – perfect idea for straight connection with jazz tradition. It was not the only jazz connection of Pretzel Logic – for the end of A-side musicians played instrumental cover of swinging twentieth’s standard East St. Louis Toodle-Oo composition by Duke Ellington and Bubber Miley. Opening reverse side Parker’s Band was a kind of jazz-rock tribute to great improviser. But next song Through with Buzz is pearl of creative jazz-rock harmonization. Even elements of country music in With a Gun or polyphonic instrumentation of Charlie Freak can be the part of the play.
Shortened versions of first and third (Any Major Dude Will Tell You) songs from Pretzel Logic were published as a 7” single and became the hit of summer 1974, reaching number 4 on Billboard hits chart. And Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 all time greatest albums gives for Pretzel Logic 385 position. It’s worth to understand what makes this record so unfading and still much worth to listen to. Donald Fagen, Walter Becker and 17 other musicians created great album with lots of courage to mix every possible, alive and worthy ideas and unify them in one musical work. This idea was mutual for many artists in midstream of fusion music in Seventies but Pretzel Logic gives it new shape enough close to jazz, rock, soul, progressive and pop music.

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