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Steely Dan - Two Against Nature CD (album) cover


Steely Dan

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Settle back with a fine ale or chardonay and make sure you have no interruptions to enjoy a good two hours of seeing professional musicians strutting their stuff. The cover describes this release as a Plush TV Jazz-Rock Party in Sensuous Surround Sound and that is exactly what it is. Throw on top some typical Steely Dan humour as they interview the band members, fanclub presidents as they relate to many pissed off session players from bygone years. It is all in good taste, move on basically is the message. All this happens between numbers or limos and gives you a good insight as to how eccentric Becker and Fagen really are.

Musically there is not much to fault at all. Tom Barney on bass stands out for me and his interplay with Becker ( Guitar ) and Lawson ( Drums) is superb. The late Cornelius Bumpus and Chris Potter on saxophones and the girls filling the backing vocal department are also having the time of their lives. Michael Leonhart and Jim Pugh do a fine job on the trumpet and trombone respectively. Donald Fagen does not give away much as he plays away being the prefectionist he is and Walter Becker even shows the odd rare smile. All the songs are great to watch in this nightclub type atmosphere, shot at Sony Music Stage,NYC, but the ones to watch out for would have to be the opener Green Earrings, Josie , they really all get into their groove here, Babylon Sisters of course! and the foot tapping Jack Of Speed. A great visual feast of the Steely Dan 28 years after it all began. Highly recommended to all but even for those new or oblivious to their sound and wonder what the fuss is all about.

Report this review (#181244)
Posted Sunday, August 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Live Dan in an intimate performance

Short and sweet: An enjoyable live performance of tracks spanning their long career, "Two Against Nature" is a real treat for Steely Dan fans. Shot on a small stage with a noticeably dark presentation, the cameras never get far away. You have almost all close-up shots of the performers. The low lighting gives the show the cool vibe you would expect from Steely Dan. The treatments of the songs are of the typical high Steely Dan quality but without the heavier bite that the pre-Gaucho material possessed, no doubt they have simply mellowed a bit with age. I must admit that while enjoyable, this show sometimes feels just a bit too mature for my taste, I miss some of the rock vibe of their early days. The full band comes with three background singers to give the vocals the full sound needed. Highlights include "Green Earrings" and "Kid Charlemagne" of course, the stuff that really pushed the old cats to their most energetic. In between the tracks are short interview segments with the band and fans providing a wealth of interesting information about the songs and personalities. The sarcasm level is wonderfully high from the boys themselves, as Becker likens a comparison of bass guitars with the difference between a $100/night hooker and a $1,000/night one. The sound and picture quality are fantastic. I would say this is an easy recommendation for fans of the Dan's later, more refined sound but much less so for fans of their earlier, more rocking albums.

Report this review (#189179)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permalink

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