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.
Though Ritenour was a classical-trained guitarist, he loved Wes Montgomery. A fanatic for superior sound, he’s explored many different styles of music during his career. He graced Steely Dan’s “Deacon Blues” with his signature sound and had this to say about the session;
“In the late ’70s and early ’80s, when Steely Dan was working on [i]Ája[i] and when Donald was recording [i]Nightfly[i], I really believe they were at their creative peak, making what have become classic albums in the history of recorded popular music. That period was particularly busy for me as a studio musician … and I was typically unavailable. But I remember one day they called, and I was able to do the “Deacon Blues” session. At the time, I was playing a lot of rhythm guitar and doing muted guitar parts for everyone from Pink Floyd to Quincy Jones using a Mu-Tron Bi-Phaser — which created a popular sound that I became associated with. It was a perfect fit for “Deacon Blues.” When I came to the studio to overdub it, I was there for an entire evening, just perfecting one part. Donald and Walter were complete perfectionists and spent a long time to get every nuance and every part perfect on their records. But their music, and the sound on those records, is timeless.”