“Gary took me to see Steely Dan (my first time) the summer before we got married. 4 years later, I found myself standing at a piano next to Shelly Berg, piecing together with him what would become one of my favorite songs on my new album. It’s nearly impossible to cover a Steely Dan song and retain its genius. I don’t claim to have done that, but along with Shelly, Gregg Field, Kevin Axt, Don Murray, and the legendary Dean Parks, we created something very special, and close to my heart. Though this hasn’t been mastered or released yet, I share it with love, compassion, and respect to Walter Becker, his family, and his bandmates.”
Lorna, John Beasley’s wife, posted a link to a Billboard article in which John talks about his work and friendship with Walter Becker.
“I worked on several other projects he produced, and he always had interesting things to say and I started to realize that all those left turns in Steely Dan music, that this was the guy that maybe inspired all those kind of fast turns — left turns, I called them back then — the uneven phrases, maybe, or sort of a jump or modulation out of nowhere, that kind of thing. He was so creative and unusual that way. he wasn’t like your normal songwriting form or anything like that. He loved those surprises.”
On September 3rd, upon awaking to the news of Walter’s passing, I found myself at a loss for words, and filled with a strange deep sorrow. One of the most dominant bricks in my musical foundation was no more an email or phone call away. We are all devastated, here at chez Randall, and I suspect the fog won’t lift for a while.
Continue reading here >> Farewell, Walter or check out the embedded Facebook post below.
“You loved music more than anyone I know. You’re always there bobbing your head to each beat, doing a little dance here and there, or sitting over there with your big head phones on and swaying back and forth. I could see it, your dissecting the song — listening in closely for each beat , for each musical instrument — you know, whatever you musicians do. But I get it.
Every road trip without fail came The Pit Stop at some guitar store. Heck, dad, I keep telling you why don’t you just own your own store? Five hours go by as I sit watching you fiddle with a guitar here and there…yet you never end up buying one. I understand though; it was your fun place, like an arcade; playing all you can, and as loud as you can. Your candy shop.”
Grammy-winning trumpeter/composer/producer/arranger Michael Leonhart has performed/recorded with Yoko Ono, James Brown, Meryl Streep, Caetano Veloso, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Steely Dan and the Charles Mingus Big Band. Michael’s trumpet playing was recently featured on Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ smash hit “Uptown Funk”.
In the spirit of these renowned artists who have continually kept an eye on politics and human rights issue, Michael crafted “Ronald Rump” with his Michael Leonhart Orchestra, a form of political satire using the uniquely brazen dialogue of Donald Trump from the public domain, featuring Nelson Cline on guitar!