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Various Artists: The Royal Dan (2006)

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Various Artists: The Royal Dan How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

For this tribute to the genius of Steely Dan, the Tone Center label brought in ten leading fusion guitarists who apply their veteran skills on one track apiece, doing their best to capture the magnetic force embodied by this memorable rock duo. Several of the musicians appearing here have worked with Steely Dan.

Robben Ford, along with saxophonist Ernie Watts, gives "Peg a fiery, blues-based feeling that stands tall and runs hard. Steve Morse celebrates "Bodhisattva with fiery, emotional rock & roll. Jay Graydon introduces "Home at Last to a soulful dance that strolls leisurely through the afternoon shade.

As Al Di Meola takes "Aja for a slow ride through lyrical territory with the help of Watts' tenor, he fills it with classical inflections from centuries-old themes. Steve Lukather's interpretation of "Pretzel Logic comes through loud and clear; the guitarist rips up a storm alongside comfortable backbeats and a thundering bass groove. Jeff Richman primes "Josie with a soulful jazz/rock arrangement that provides powerful reflections.

Mike Stern's "Dirty Work, emphasizes the lyrical nature of Steely Dan's work, floats effortlessly along rivers of casual acquaintance. Jimmy Herring goes for the exotic as he interprets "The Fez with a flair for adventure. "FM finds Frank Gambale buried in backbeats as he weaves its melody over a rolling structure of wild oaths. Elliott Randall closes the album with a smooth interpretation of "Hey Nineteen that brings Steely Dan full circle. By including the accessible melodies, conventional rhythms and majestic heartbeat of Steely Dan on this tribute, Tone Center honors the duo convincingly.

Track Listing: Peg; Bodhisattva; Home at Last; Aja; Pretzel Logic; Josie; Dirty Work; The Fez; FM; Hey Nineteen.

Personnel: Robben Ford, Steve Morse, Jay Graydon, Al Di Meola, Steve Lukather, Jeff Richman, Mike Stern, Jimmy Herring, Frank Gambale, Elliott Randall: guitar; Ernie Watts; tenor saxophone; Peter Wolf: keyboard; Jimmy Haslip: bass; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums.

Record Label: Tone Center

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


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