I love it when worlds collide. Today's case was Alex V. Cook taking the anti-Aja side on John Schaefer's Soundcheck. I've been pro-Steely Dan and pro-John Schaefer for decades and pro-Alex V. Cook for, uh, less than a decade. I have no opinion about the fourth bloke on the show.
Cook on Steely Dan:
I listen to this music and I understand the performance is perfect and everything is in the right place. But it almost feels like I'm in a really well-tended store. In fact, that's what I associate Steely Dan with, being in Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Just as important, I'm increasingly enamored of jazz artists covering rock music, cheesy and campy as it sometimes can be. I especially like it when Greatest Generation-type artists try hard to play music of a younger generation. Despite the stylistic genre differences, sometimes jazz people capture the essence of the rock tune e.g. Count Basie doing the Beatles' Come Together. And sometimes, it's a collision, hilarious, or both.
Today's example is via Alex V. Cook's blog. It's bandleader Woody Herman covering Steely Dan's Kid Charlemagne. I'm not yet sure what to make of it, since it has neither the slickness of Steely Dan, nor does it really rock out. I do like the loose rhythm section although the horn parts sound square compared to the original. Maybe there's something to those Steely Dan obsessive production values after all.