Assembling a smart tribute album is tough. Thoughtfully titled The Royal Dan these guitarists from the jazz to rock to blues have taken highlights from the Becker/Fagen catalogue and not made dirty work of them.
Guitarist Steve Lukather, known for his work in Toto tackles "Pretzel Logic". All these songs are clean and smartly played and recorded just as Steely Dan would do it. Al Di Meola has a hard track, "Aja" along with excellent drumming from Vinnie Colaiuta and the sax work of Ernie Watts.
The one key to a band that has guests come play on an album is that the fear that the guests will outshine the band itself which is not true here especially on the song "Josie" featuring guitarist Jeff Richman. Richman takes a rock approach but keeps it jazzy and solos all throughout. The band really stands out; Peter Wolf offers a great keyboard compliment.
This is called Royal Dan for a reason. All the players here are capable and are able to pull of an intelligent tribute to the work of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen and Steely Dan. The band is top notch and the list of guitarists is amazing, from Robben Ford on "Peg" to Elliott Randall playing on "Hey Nineteen", this album is a royal tribute to Becker and Fagen.
Save for the bass playing of Jimmy Haslip. He stays in the background, though one might say he should have been up front more. This was not dominated by the all star cast, all the players here played equal.