Classic jazz and blues? Steely Dan combined that and black stylings with gospel and just a lot of good musicianship. I was listening to a YouTube video of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker talking about producing the music. to Deacon Blues. While I don’t always agree with the lyrics of their music, I can appreciate their approach to making good music.
Dean Parks, a guitarist for some of the recording, comments on Donald and Walters approach to recording (around 3:40 minutes into the video). He says that they were not looking for perfection, they were there for "beyond perfection." They wanted the music to be something that people would listen to over and over. You worked past perfecc to where it seemed natural and then to where it seemed almost improvised. There music was a two step process — perfection and then beyond perfection.
I know what that is about. I have played with musicians who got every note right. But the music was lifeless. One pianist I know could play the hardest pieces in the world. But you seemed to be missing a reason to listen to him again. You can’t always define that, but you know it when you hear it!
Getting to that place in music is where we are headed as musicians! But first we must get the foundation down — learn to play music first!