You may want to consider adding Donald Fagen’s book Eminent Hipsters to your reading list. In it, the Steely Dan co-founder writes intelligently and often humorously about his early-life relationship with the jazz culture and how it helped shape his life choices and musical direction. Fagen says that the book’s main subjects are “talented musicians, writers and performers from a universe beyond suburban New Jersey who showed me how to interpret my own world.” Some of the “hipsters” Fagen shares along the way are Henry Mancini, all-night jazz DJ Mort Fega, WOR radio legend Jean Shepherd, and the Boswell Sisters.
An example of his colorful writing…In his chapter titled “In the Clubs” — an appreciation for the jazz clubs of New York he frequented as a young man — he wrote: “I remember seeing the mighty Count Basie band at a matinee at Birdland, with the great Sonny Payne on drums. When the whole band pumped out one of those thirteenth chords, you could feel the breeze on your face.” “In the Clubs,” in particular, is an entertaining read…To read the entire chapter, go here.
A 1995 live performance of Steely Dan playing “Josie”