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Fagen, Donald - 1982 The Nightfly

ARTIST: Fagen, Donald
ALBUM: The Nightfly
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: 9 23696-1
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: Reissue List-


LINEUP: Donald Fagen - lead vocals, organ, piano, electric piano, horn arrangements, arranging * Dean Parks, Larry Carlton, Rick Derringer, Steve Khan - guitars * Hugh McCracken - guitars, harmonica * Rob Mounsey - synthesizer, horn arrangements * Abraham Laboriel, Anthony Jackson, Chuck Rainey, Marcus Miller, Will Lee - bass * Michael Omartian - piano * Greg Phillinganes - piano, synthesizer * Dave Tofani, Michael Brecker, Ronnie Cuber - sax * Roger Nichols - percussion, effects, studio engineering * Starz Vanderlocket - percussion, backing vocals * Ed Green, James Gadson, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Jordan - drums * Dave Bargeron - euphonium, trombone * Randy Brecker - flugelhorn, trumpet * Daniel Lazerus, Frank Floyd, Gordon Grody, Leslie Miller, Valerie Simpson, Zack Sanders - backing vocals * Gary Katz - production

TRACK LISTING: 01 I.G.Y. * 02 Green Flower Street * 03 Ruby Baby * 04 Maxine * 05 New Frontier * 06 The Nightfly * 07 The Goodbye Look * 08 Walk Between The Raindrops

WEBLINKS: Donald Fagen FB Page

Of course we know Donald Fagen as the voice behind 70's legends Steely Dan. However, it would take until 1982 before the release of his debut solo LP: 'The Nightfly'. This album is a bit of an undiscovered classic in the 21st century, but back in 1982 it was popular fare. in fact, 'The Nightfly' was nominated for seven awards at the 1983 Grammys, such was its standing. The connection to the Steely Dan sound is pretty close (obviously), with many of the personnel and production team previousy involved on those records. Released in October 1982, the album gradually made its mark, eventually going double platinum in the US, though the singles side of things wasn't as successful.

The Songs
The slinky 'I.G.Y' (International Geophysical Year)' is the first cab off the rank. Typically Steely Dan in style and sound, with a reggae hint as well. 'Green Flower Street' exhibits many of the attributes found on SD's song 'Josie' (from their 'Aja' album), you'd think this was part 2? Excellent. 'Ruby Baby' drops into urban jazz territory and has a nice vibe with a singalong element too. 'Maxine' is a slower piano ballad, but Fagen and his band of merry men lift the tempo on 'New Frontier', with an ever-present (what sounds like a..) cowbell in the backdrop. The title-track 'The Nightfly' is next, listening to this is like an extension to the 'Gaucho' material, a groovy tune nonetheless. 'The Goodbye Look' shuffles along a percussive backdrop (vibes, xylophone..) and some neat jazzy lead guitar, I suspect from the erstwhile Larry Carlton. The album finishes up with the quirky and fun sounding 'Walk Between Raindrops', a pleasant jazz-pop excursion which I enjoyed a lot.

In Summary
Interestingly, 'The Nightfly' was one of the very first fully digital recordings, and as such, has received plaudits and kudos throughout the audiophile world. It is ranked up there as one of the top albums ever recorded, and is considered a benchmark by top recording engineers and producers. So, do your home stereo system the honours by purchasing the best quality audio output of this album, and settle back with a nice dram of whiskey! For further reading, go to this Wikipedia page.

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