In a bit of serendipity and maybe kismet, it just so happens that the legendary Steely Dan and its popular Seattle tribute band—Nearly Dan—are out in full force around the same time, both with big, scheduled gigs in Seattle.
Steely Dan, under the leadership of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, has successfully married rock and R&B with jazz, Latin, and country influences to last several lifetimes. After starting out inauspiciously – Fagen paused at the sound of Becker practicing on guitar at the Red Balloon café in New York, circa 1967. Liking what he heard, Fagen approached his fellow Bard College attendee to lay down some praise and ask if Becker would like to start up a band together. They quickly found similar musical interests, honed their craft, and changed the world note for quirky note, album to album, Grammy to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. That they’re still out there touring, endeavoring to reach new creative heights, and staying relevant is proof of their icon status.
This year, Steely Dan—with its usual band of studio/session players, as well as two key guest artists, Hammond B-3 jazz organist Sam Yahel and British recording star Steve Winwood (“Roll With It,” “Back In The High Life Again,” “Higher Love”)—makes its Shuffle Diplomacy Twenty Eleven tour through America, Australia, and New Zealand. They kick off their adventure of classic hits, entire album covers, and world peace at Seattle’s WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., (206) 381-7555, 8 p.m., July 2nd. Highlighting some of the venues is a chance for fans to vote online for the Steely Dan songs they’d most wish for the band to play. The band isn’t doing this for every venue, so head on over to the link to check out which ones (L.A.’s Greek Theater, July 9th, is one) you can vote for (“Lunch With Gina!”).
If you can’t afford the gas for the originals, try a very good copy. Nearly Dan-Seattle has been bringing the crowds in whether they’ve played Hwy 99 Blues Club, Jazz Alley, Jazzbones, or, recently, the Bob Rivers Show Artist Spotlight Happy Hour at Snoqualmie Casino’s Club Sno. These tried-and-proven players from all walks of music don’t just cover Steely Dan songs; they often improve upon them. If you find that hard to believe, you haven’t heard their Latin rendition of “Do It Again.”
Just like Steely Dan, Nearly Dan will again play entire albums in their upcoming two-show number at the Triple Door in downtown Seattle, this Saturday, June 25. For their 7 p.m. show (doors open at 5:30 p.m., all ages welcome), they’re doing “Aja,” and for their 9:30 p.m. show (doors open 9 p.m., 21 and over), it’s “Gaucho.” The last time this tribute band was here, almost two years ago, they blew the doors down with their powerful, loaded performances, brilliant, earnest interpretation, passionate execution, and an innate sense of showmanship and camaraderie. Cost is $20 per show, or $29.50 to stay for both (stay for both).
For more info: The Triple Door hosts a wide variety of local, national, and international talent, from the Honolulu Jazz Quartet and Jon Anderson of Yes, to Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet and Randy Brecker (Kenny Werner All-Stars). The happening nightclub is located on 216 Union Street across from Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Reservations are highly recommended, (206) 838-4333.