Morph the Cat is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Donald Fagen. Released on March 7, 2006, to generally positive reviews from critics, Morph the Cat was described by Fagen as his “death album” in an interview with Fred Kaplan of The New York Times. Musicians on the album include drummer Keith Carlock, saxophonist Walt Weiskopf, bassist Freddie Washington, and guitarists Frank Vignola, Jon Herington, Wayne Krantz, and Hugh McCracken.
Morph the Cat was released on CD and on a CD/DVD-Audio 2-disc package, with a 5.1 surround sound mix engineered by Elliot Scheiner. The surround recording won the Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album.
“Morph the Cat” – 6:49 “H Gang” – 5:15 “What I Do” – 6:01 “Brite Nitegown” – 7:16 “The Great Pagoda of Funn” – 7:39 “Security Joan” – 6:09 “The Night Belongs to Mona” – 4:18 “Mary Shut the Garden Door” – 6:29 “Morph the Cat (Reprise)” – 2:53
Kamakiriad is the second solo album by Steely Dan artist Donald Fagen, released in 1993. It was his first collaboration since 1980 with Steely Dan partner Walter Becker, who produced the album. The album is a futuristic, optimistic eight-song cycle about the journey of the narrator in his high-tech car, the Kamakiri (Japanese for praying mantis). It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year 1994.
Music videos were produced for “Tomorrow’s Girls” (starring Rick Moranis) and “Snowbound” (using stop motion animation).
Fagen and Becker embarked on their first tour as Steely Dan since 1974 to support the album.
Donald Jay Fagen (born January 10, 1948) is an American musician best known as the co-founder, lead singer, co-songwriter, and keyboardist of the band Steely Dan, formed in the early 1970s. He has also released four albums as a solo artist and in 2001 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 2017 death of Steely Dan’s co-founder Walter Becker leaves Fagen as the band’s sole member.
Donald Fagen was born in Passaic, New Jersey, on January 10, 1948, to Jewish parents, Joseph “Jerry” Fagen, an accountant, and his wife, Elinor, a homemaker who had been a swing singer in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains from childhood through her teens. His family moved to the suburb of Fair Lawn around 1958 and soon after to a house on Bedford Road in the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick, New Jersey. The transition upset him; he detested living in the suburbs. He later recalled that it “was like a prison. I think I lost faith in [my parents’] judgment… It was probably the first time I realized I had my own view of life.” His life in Kendall Park, including his teenage love of late-night radio, inspired his album The Nightfly.
Fagen became interested in rock and rhythm and blues (R&B) in the late 1950s. The first record he bought was “Reelin’ and Rockin'” by Chuck Berry. At age eleven, he was recommended music by a cousin and went to the Newport Jazz Festival, becoming what he called a “jazz snob”: “I lost interest in rock ‘n’ roll and started developing an anti-social personality.” In the early 1960s, beginning at age twelve, he often went to the Village Vanguard, where he was particularly impressed by Earl Hines, Willie “The Lion” Smith, and Bill Evans. He regularly took the bus to Manhattan to see performances by jazz musicians Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis. He learned to play the piano, and he played baritone horn in the high school marching band. He developed a lifelong fondness for table tennis. In his late teens he was drawn to soul music, funk, Motown, and Sly and the Family Stone. He has also expressed admiration for the Boswell Sisters, Henry Mancini, and Ray Charles.
After graduating from South Brunswick High School in 1965, he enrolled at Bard College to study English literature, having been inspired by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. At Bard he met musician Walter Becker. With a revolving assortment of musicians which included future actor Chevy Chase, Becker and Fagen formed the bands the Leather Canary, the Don Fagen Jazz Trio, and the Bad Rock Band. Fagen described his college bands as sounding like “the Kingsmen performing Frank Zappa material”. None of the groups lasted long, but the partnership between Fagen and Becker did. The duo’s early career included working with Jay and the Americans, for which they used pseudonyms. In the early 1970s they worked as pop songwriters for ABC/Dunhill Records, which released all of Steely Dan’s 1970s albums. – Wikipedia
Steely Dan is an American jazz rock/rock band founded by core members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. The band’s popularity peaked in the late 1970s, and their seven albums over that period of time blended elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop. Rolling Stone has called them “the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies.”
Recorded with a revolving cast of session musicians, Steely Dan’s music is characterized by complex jazz-influenced structures and harmonies. Often sharply sarcastic lyricists, Becker and Fagen have written “cerebral, wry and eccentric” songs about drugs, love affairs,and crime. The pair are known for their near-obsessive perfectionism in the recording studio: Over the year they took to record Gaucho (1980), an album of just seven songs, Becker and Fagen hired at least 42 studio musicians and 11 engineers.
Steely Dan toured from 1972 to 1974 before retiring to the studio. The group disbanded in 1981, and throughout most of the next decade Becker and Fagen were largely inactive, though a cult following remained devoted to the group. In 1993 the two reunited and began playing concerts. Steely Dan has since released two albums of new material, the first of which earned a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. They have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. (Source Wikipedia)