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Aja (Remastered)

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Editors’ Notes

A work of immaculate craft and insinuating wit, 1977's Aja is perhaps the most fully-realized album in Steely Dan's catalog. Leaders Donald Fagan and Walter Becker enlisted an all-star crew of jazz/rock players - drummer Steve Gadd and saxophonist Wayne Shorter among them - to lend this album an urbane finesse and dark-tinged sparkle. Steely Dan pays tribute to old-school jazz in "Deacon Blues" and brings a sophisticated R&B groove to "Peg" and "Home At Last." "Black Cow" has a sardonic sting, while "Josie" radiates warmth with a minimum of irony. The arrangements are gorgeously expansive -- the title tune is a jazz mini-suite. Fagan's vocals (embellished with high-gloss harmonies) are bitingly dry with a twist of venom. Behind the album's cool exterior is a burning passion for fine musicianship. Undeniably excellent, this album's hipster Žlan has made it an enduring favorite among rock and jazz aficionados alike.

Customer Reviews

It's Over Now, Drink Your Big Black Cow

And get out of here! Steely Dan’s lyrics are to die for! Please allow me to quote some of my favourites from this album, out of context: "Chinese music under banyan tree, Here at the dude ranch above the sea"; "They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, Call me Deacon Blues"; "In the Corner, Of my eye, I saw you in Rudy’s, You were very high”. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s music is always very, very sophisticated, while their lyrics display a great sense of humour and fun. I bought ‘Aja’ in 1977 when it first came out, and it's the one album I still listen to regularly. There is nothing here to date the music, it always sounds like it was recorded yesterday. Here, we have Michael MacDonald singing back-up vocals on “Peg” and ‘I Got The News’. He used to be part of their touring band, and around the time of this recording, was the new guy in The Doobie Brothers, helping to re-invent their sound. Tom Scott did the horn arrangements, and also plays sax on ‘Black Cow’. ‘Aja’ successfully pulls off a seamless fusion of jazz/rock/pop, and it represents a creative peak for the earlier part of their career, before recording ‘Gaucho’, and then going their separate ways (temporarily) in the early eighties. I love all their music, and I have to say, you can't get any better value than the collection iTunes are selling called ‘Citizen Steely Dan’, which contains six albums for the price of one, ‘Aja’ being one of them. But ‘Aja’ is a personal favourite of mine, and needs to be listened to as an entire album on it’s own. Thank you Donald, thank you Walter. Long may you run.

Aja - everything has gone south since!!

The problem with this album is that once you have absorbed all its melodies, rhythms, lyrics and subtleties, all other popular music that you subsequently listen to will dissappoint and will ultimately be an emptying and unedifying experience. My interest in popular music has waned since I discovered this 20 years ago. It is the defining achievment of modern popular music, it is timeless, "It's perfection and grace. It's the smile on my face" (quote stolen from their next album). It was released in 1977, the year when punk blew away the pretensions of self aggrandizing rock. Walter and Donald did the same with music but in a far more jazzier and classier style. This is the journeys end of popular music, no one has come close since. If you owned only one album, never mind a Dan album, this is the one!! It should be honoured in i-tunes as the one album everyone should own. Why cannot it receive 6 stars?

One of the best albums of all time

Simply a masterpiece! Regardless of the fact that a large proportion of the world's music lovers have probably never heard of this record it will remain (in the opinion of critics and the enlightened public alike) one of the greatest albums of all time, alongside Sgt. Peppers..., Dark Side... etc. Yes really! It's very rare that music has the ability to stimulate both the base instinct and the intellectual. Buy NOW!

Biography

Formed: 1972 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Most rock & roll bands are a tightly wound unit that developed their music through years of playing in garages and clubs around their hometown. Steely Dan never subscribed to that aesthetic. As the vehicle for the songwriting of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, Steely Dan defied all rock & roll conventions. Becker and Fagen never truly enjoyed rock — with their ironic humor and cryptic lyrics, their eclectic body of work shows some debt to Bob Dylan — preferring jazz, traditional...
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