Steely Dan's Donald Fagen returns to the road tonight (August 3) for the first of two shows in Port Chester, N.Y., to launch a solo tour with his new backing band the Nightflyers.
The 26-date trek will take Fagen through September 23-24 at the Yokohama Blue Note Jazz Fest in Japan, and he tells us that he's looking forward to not only playing Steely Dan favorites but also performing material from his four solo albums, which have been under-exposed due to Steely Dan's heavy touring schedule since 1993:
"As far as the stuff from my solo albums, 'The Nightly' and so on, the only time I actually got into those, I went on tour with some of the guys from the Steely Dan band in 2006, I believer. I had a brief tour and it was really fun 'cause they'd never been played live, ever, and I think that month or two is the only time I've ever played them live. There may have been a few we played at Steely Dan...I remember playing 'New Frontier' at Steely Dan shows once or twice. They're really new to me; These guys actually have taught me the chords to a few I forgot."
The Nightflyers is comprised of musicians from the Hudson Valley/Ulster County area where Fagen resides. The group played a surprise club show Monday night (July 31) in Marlboro, N.Y., offering a set that mixed Steely Dan and Fagen solo material with covers that included the Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street" and the Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden."
Full information about the tour can be found at DonaldFagen.com.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.