Steely Dan Sunday, "Through With Buzz" (1974)

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<<< BACKWARD ("Parker's Band") ||| ONWARD ("Pretzel Logic") >>>

At ninety seconds, it’s the briefest of all Steely Dan songs, and one of only a couple SD recordings where strings accompaniment was used. But while the strings on “FM” was just a background wash, on “Buzz” it’s the main instrumental attraction of the song. As Renaissance men, Becker and Fagen dig classical music, citing Stravinsky as an influence, among others. You can find classical underpinnings in some of there more complex song constructions, but only this song sounds “classical” to my ears.

For this track, the violins more or less take on the rhythm guitar role. Mixed in with piano, bass, drums and electric piano, the arrangement makes them nearly a equal with Fagen’s vocals, adding punctuations to his lines (“maybe he’s a fairy” being perhaps a little politically incorrect lines but it being 1974, probably didn’t cause much of an uproar).

In the final analysis, “Through With Buzz” puts forth an interesting idea that makes one wonder if Steely Dan could have gone a whole lot further with it. As interesting as it is, it’s too short for me to think of it as much more than a segue from “Parker’s Band” to “Pretzel Logic.”

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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  • randolphr

    Any idea who arranged/wrote those strings ?

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