Album of the Day
Though Donald Fagen is most famous as a founder of Steely Dan, THE NIGHTFLY shows the singer-songwriter quite capable of making compelling albums of his own. The presence of longtime producer Gary Katz, engineer Roger Nichols and instrumental aces including Jeff Porcaro and Larry Carlton – not to mention those distinctive lead vocals – give the 1982 Warner Bros. collection a familiar sound, but it's far removed thematically from Fagen's old band. Tracks like “New Frontier” and “I.G.Y. (What A Beautiful World)” glow with nostalgia for suburban life in the late 1950s and early 1960s; if not quite autobiographical, the songs nonetheless feel very personal. Fagen's love of jazz also shines through, crystallized by months of painstaking recording sessions and then-new digital technology. Released 35 years ago this month, the platinum-certified THE NIGHTFLY plays like a radio program by its cover DJ: sophisticated late-night reveries connecting listeners to a kindred soul.