In a tragedy that's rocked the music industry, Walter Becker, co-founder of the influential jazz-rock band Steely Dan, has passed away at the age of 67. His website said he died on Sunday. Fagen and Becker reunited in 1993 to resurrect Steely Dan, and released two more albums - the most recent being 2003's "Everything Must Go" - while also resuming touring duties in recent years.
Fagen described his bandmate as "cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically amusing".
Becker had recently missed the band's July performances in Los Angeles and NY as part of the Classic West and Classic East festivals. But in July, Walter Becker had not taken part in the festivals of twins in Los Angeles and New York, Classic West Classic East.
No cause of death is now known although Becker missed both of Steely Dan's recent shows at the Classic West and East shows. What other commercial band would build out an eight-minute track complete with Asian themes and sentiments ("Aja") and have jazz powerhouse Wayne Shorter serve as lead soloist (on saxophone!) on it over a lead guitarist? That job got them their own record deal, and with a bevy of studio musicians backing them (including future Doobie Brother Jeff "Skunk" Baxter) they created Steely Dan.
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On the morning of his death, Becker's homepage, WalterBecker.com, was switched to a simple diptych featuring an image of him as a child alongside one where the adult musician's impish charm was unchanged.
Daily Variety called Becker "the more retiring full-term member of the group" and reported that Becker "was partnered with singer-keyboardist and co-writer Fagen on a string of jazzy, sleekly produced singles and albums that ruled the charts during the '70s".
Becker was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Fagen in 2001.
Becker eventually reunited with Fagen and, after a almost 20 year hiatus, released two albums: "Two Against Nature", which won four Grammys, including album of the year in 2001, and "Everything Must Go".
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