Available now on Shifting Paradigm Records !
DIME DANCING: The Music of Steely Dan is a collection of eight songs from the classic 1970’s era discography of Steely Dan reimagined in a variety of contexts ranging from classical to gamelan, Cuban, Brazilian, early jazz and even a bluegrass/funk hybrid. Featuring predominantly strings, woodwinds and acoustic guitar, each ensemble is unique in instrumentation and style, while maintaining a firm connection to the sources pop/rock roots. In some cases, FM radio staples are taken at radically different tempos to reveal new meanings.
Midwest Record: The jazzbo guitarist does a deconstruction of Steely Dan’s 70s hits and does it with pals that have the chops and the flying time but are mostly not the usual suspects. The kind of set that would make gift shop versions of this material run for the hills, Dan always colored outside the lines anyway so this diversion is diverse but it never runs off the rails. You try to keep Dan enthusiasts away from it.
(Shifting Paradigm 157)
Featured vocalist Miriam Waks, originally from Sydney Australia and now based in New York, “…possesses a durably clear and pristine voice, well-balanced horizontally and vertically” (All About Jazz). She sings in 17 (!) languages and a plethora of musical styles as evidenced by projects as diverse as the experimental electronic music duo Metabards and satirical rap alter ego Mimi LaRue. Miriam was also featured vocalist and MC with Cuban modern dance company Danza Del Caribe at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The various ensembles include first-call NY session players and leaders in their own right: violinist Meg Okura (Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble), cellist Jody Redhage (Esperanza Spalding, Jay-Z, Beyonce), woodwinds Dan Weiloszynski (Michael Brecker) and Kenny Berger (Lee Konitz, Freddie Hubbard), Jorge Roeder (Gary Burton, Julian Lage) and Richie Barshay (Herbie Hancock, The Klezmatics), plus several guest appearances.
The first selection is Black Cow, opening with voice and trio of cello, violin and oboe in somewhat baroque style combined with more modern harmonies and themes. About a third of the way in you get a surprise, and some fancy guitar pickin’ at the end. Aja evokes a nature setting that develops over the course of three choruses alternating between lush woodwinds/strings and more rhythmic gamelan-influenced passages. Other pieces are scored for string quartet with guitar, two string quartets over a salsa groove, accordion and clarinets with Brasilian rhythm section, and an early jazz ensemble evocative of Kurt Weil in 1920s Berlin.