I got to listen to a lot of Steely Dan growing up, which did me a world of good as a musician. I remember wanting to play Steely Dan songs when I was younger and just couldn't do it. I realize now that what I lacked was the chord vocabulary that Donald Fagan was using in a lot of their stuff. It's a chord vocabulary that really doesn't get used much in popular music, which is what gives Steely Dan such a definitive and individual sound. Fagan's abilty toto use the more abstract harmonies in a context that people could still relate to must be one of reasons why Steely Dan was so successful.
Now that I have progressed to a point where I can at least relate at a conceptual level to some of the things that Fagan does with chords, I find these kind of elements sneaking into my songs and the way I play.
Suggested Listening :
- Interview "Donald Fagan talks about Josie" (youtube, hoodoo skidoo channel)