Even as lifelong Steely Dan fans clamored for a copy of Two Against Nature, the acclaimed duo's first studio recording in almost 20 years, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's catalog continues to be a huge seller, their songs as popular as ever on classic rock and adult contemporary radio. Steely Dan's seamless blend of pop and jazz influences has also made them a staple of the smooth jazz format, and many of today's top genre performers cite the band as a major influence. No Static At All, Samson Records' all-star instrumental tribute to Becker and Fagen's timeless artistry recorded under the name Garden Party, allows a handful of these musicians to pay homage to their heroes while creating new twists on songs so familiar that many have become standards. Garden Party was the brainchild of veteran producer and industry executive Steve Barri, who signed Steely Dan to its first deal with ABC/Dunhill Records -- where he was VP of A&R -- in 1970. The 11 tunes comprising No Static at All -- whose name comes from the parenthetical secondary title of the tune "FM" -- include eight instantly recognizable "greatest hits" and three less-known gems: a brass funk jam of "Bad Sneakers" (featuring Eddie M on sax and Roger Smith on keys), the haunting electric guitar driven moods exploring "The Caves of Altamira," and a dreamy, reflective take on "Pearl of the Quarter." The hit parade includes a percussive retro-soul reading of "Do It Again" featuring Hill and Lorber (alternating between Hammond B-3 and Fender Rhodes); the energetic simmering blues infused "Peg" (with Doc Powell); a soulful, throbbing "FM (No Static at All)" (with Lorber and saxman Steve Nieves); a sassy "Deacon Blues," featuring the sizzling horn textures of Elliot and trumpeter Tony Guerrero; the breezy and hypnotic "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" (led by Hill); "Josie," presented as a crackling rocker with Chieli Minucci on electric guitar, Nick Kirgo on rhythm guitar, and Dave Koz explosive on sax; a bubbly tropical twist on "Hey Nineteen"; and, appropriately referring to all the glorious time traveling, a swinging jam of "Reeling in the Years."
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran
feat: Doc Powell
feat: Warren Hill
feat: Michael Sims