32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
When you're hot - you're HOT,
This review is from: Alive in America (Audio CD)
OK.....I know drum solos are not de-rigueur in the 90s , I appreciate the craving for the instant hook and that great works of art are rarely identified as such when they are first released into the public domain . It is with these thoughts in mind that I recommend Alive in America .
As soon as the whole has been absorbed , the different layers in the performance can be savoured without detracting from the overall listening experience . To this end Becker and Fagen have enlisted the support of musicians , not only proficient enough to grasp the arrangements firmly , but shrewd enough to know that light and shade are essential ingredients if the gig-cake is going to “cook” .
It was the keenest of moves to place Erskine or Chambers at the heart of the rhythm section on the drum stool , their metronomic precision belying their jazz heritage .......rest assured , they can whack when the need arises .
Easing you in with “Babylon Sisters” , with its deceptively minimalist shuffle , kicking into 3rd gear - Green Earrings gives the soloists Becker , Bernhardt , Bumpus and Zingg their chance , while Bodhisattva lets Georg Wadenius on guitar loose to great effect ; listen out for fantastic footwork from Chambers in the latter stages .
Rarely can changing arrangements from the originals be of much benefit . “Reelin’ In The Years” must be the exception that proves the rule ! This is ensemble playing of the highest order , those familiar choruses interspersed with blistering solos from Chris Potter on tenor plus guitarists Becker and Wadenius . “Josie” lilts jazzily , while Beaker’s “Book of Liars” sits uneasily among the other joint compositions . “Peg” exceeds the original with Wadenius again demonstrating his skill and sensitivity .
“Third World Man” not only boasts one of the most apposite of solos from Drew Zingg but also becomes the ultimate showcase for impeccable timekeeping . “Kid Charlemangne” sees Tom Barney on bass , along with Chambers to lay down the most driving and cohesive of foundations for guitars and horns . The enigmatic “Sign In Stranger” embraces a new arrangement and lyrics that keep you guessing till the last false finale .
No surprise that Aja was the Dan’s best selling album and that its title track was kept till last.
All of Becker and Fagen’s trademarks are firmly forged on to the final offering . Intricate instrumentation , faultless playing , intriguing lyrics , solos that add ( not subtract ) and finally , collective sensibilities that enthral the mind and drive the foot...