During the first decade of their existence, Steely Dan gained a reputation for conducting painstaking studio sessions with some of the world’s most talented musicians. In the Winter issue, we take a look at several guest artists — young and old, established and otherwise — who played on those sessions.
John Klemmer is often credited with paving the way for smooth-jazz saxophone. His use of an Echoplex was perfect for [i]The Royal Scam[i]’s “The Caves of Altimira”. Here’s what Klemmer had to say about this session:
“Recording with Steely Dan was certainly a rare experience — highly professional and creatively unique. On “Caves of Altamira,” I was sitting in silence in the studio, just me, my horn, headphones and a microphone, waiting while observing and trying to figure out what they were doing in the control room with their three or four 24-track tape machines tied together. Suddenly the song began to play and repeat in my headphones, and then Donald pointed at me, which I assumed was my time to record. I began to play and did two passes [solo overdubs], followed by a long period of silence as it appeared that they were listening to what I just recorded. Not a word was spoken before Donald, Walter and Roger Nichols gave me the OK sign while smiling and waving goodbye. So I packed up and left, feeling like I must have satisfied them. I only heard my recorded solo when the album was released.”