Aja (Remastered) Steely Dan
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- 1Black Cow05:08
- 3Deacon Blues07:33
- 5Home At Last05:32
- 6I Got The News05:04
Info zu Aja (Remastered)
If you were an audiophile in the late 1970s, you owned Aja. Rolling Stone, which ranks 1977's Aja at No. 63 on its latest 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, says "this was Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's no-holds barred stab at becoming a huge mainstream jazz-pop success.
"And sure enough, thanks to sweet, slippery tracks like 'Deacon Blues,' and 'Peg,' this collegiate band with a name plucked from a William Burroughs novel and a songbook full of smart, cynical lyrics became bona fide superstars, shooting to the Top Five and selling platinum. And yes, Aja even won a Grammy for Best Engineeed Album."
This landmark album in the band's career features a sophisticated, polished sound that reflects the band's meticulous attention to detail and the influence of jazz and fusion music.
Fagan and Becker would assemble a revolving cast of almost 40 session musicians to play on the album, consisting of some of the all-time greats, including Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Wayne Shorter, Steve Gadd, Lee Ritenour, Timothy B. Schmidt — it's a long list. It's a Who's Who of session superstars.
The album name and its title track were inspired by a South Korean woman whom a high school friend's brother had married after serving in the army in her country. The chord progressions and melodies are so unique and so typically Steely Dan. The drum solo at the end of the title track by Steve Gadd is also astounding.
The album's title track, "Aja," opens with a serene piano introduction before building into a complex, multi-layered arrangement that features intricate drum patterns, subtle guitar lines, and a soaring saxophone solo. Other standout tracks include "Deacon Blues," a melancholy ballad with introspective lyrics, and "Peg," a catchy tune with a funky groove and infectious chorus.
Throughout the album, Steely Dan's lyrics explore themes of disillusionment, regret, and the quest for fulfillment. In "Black Cow," the opening track, the narrator laments the loss of a relationship, while in "Josie," the album's closing track, the band celebrates the freedom and excitement of a new love affair.
The album's meticulous production values, including multiple layers of instrumentation and intricate vocal harmonies, showcase Steely Dan's commitment to sonic perfection.
Founded by core members Walter Becker (bass) and Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards), Steely Dan's popularity rose throughout the late 1970s on, and their seven albums throughout that period of time blended elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop. Steely Dan created a sophisticated, distinctive sound with accessible melodic hooks, complex harmonies and time signatures, and a devotion to the recording studio. Becker and Fagen, with producer Gary Katz, gradually changed Steely Dan from a performing band to a studio project, hiring session musicians to record their compositions. The duo didn't perform live between 1974 and 1993. But their popularity nevertheless grew throughout the '70s as their albums became critical favorites and their singles became staples of Adult Oriented Radio and pop radio stations.
After a brief battle with esophageal cancer, Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017 at the age of 67. Steely Dan has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. VH1 ranked Steely Dan at No. 82 on their list of the 100 Greatest Musical Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone ranked them No. 15 on its list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time.
Overall, Aja represents a high-water mark in Steely Dan's career, showcasing the band's unique blend of jazz, rock, and pop influences in a polished, sophisticated package. The album has become a classic of the 1970s and remains a favorite among music lovers to this day.
Donald Fagen, lead vocals, synthesizer, backing vocals
Paul Humphrey, drums
Steve Gadd, drums
Bernard Purdie, drums
Rick Marotta, drums
Ed Greene, drums
Jim Keltner, drums, percussion
Chuck Rainey, bass
Walter Becker, bass
Victor Feldman, Fender Rhodes
Joe Sample, Fender Rhodes
Michael Omartian, piano
Joe Sample, clavinet
Larry Carlton, guitars
Walter Becker, guitars
Lee Ritenour, guitars
Denny Dias, guitars
Steve Khan, guitar
Dean Parks, acoustic guitar, guitar
Tom Scott, tenor saxophone
Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone
Pete Christlieb, tenor saxophone
Tom Scott, Lyricon
Victor Feldman, percussion, marimba, vibraphone, percussion
Clydie King, backing vocals
Venetta Fields, backing vocals
Sherlie Matthews, backing vocals
Rebecca Louis, backing vocals
Timothy B. Schmit, backing vocals
Michael McDonald, backing vocals
Recorded late 1976 to July 1977 at Village Recorders (West Los Angeles); Producer's Workshop and Sound Labs (Hollywood); Warner Bros. (Burbank); ABC and A&R (New York City)
Produced by Gary Katz
Digitally remastered by Bernie Grundman from an analog, non EQ'd tape copy
Please Note: we do not offer the 192 kHz version of this album, because there is no audible difference to the 96 kHz version!
Walter Becker (bass) and Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards) were the core members of Steely Dan throughout its variety of incarnations. The two met at Bard College in New York in 1967 and began playing in bands together shortly afterward. The duo played in a number of groups -- including the Bad Rock Group, which featured future comedic actor Chevy Chase on drums -- which ranged from jazz to progressive rock. Eventually, Becker and Fagen began composing songs together, hoping to become professional songwriters in the tradition of the Brill Building. In 1970, the pair joined Jay & the Americans' backing band, performing under pseudonyms; Becker chose Gustav Mahler, while Fagen used Tristan Fabriani. They stayed with Jay & the Americans until halfway through 1971, when they recorded the soundtrack for the low-budget film You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It, which was produced by the Americans' Kenny Vance. Following the recording of the soundtrack, Becker and Fagen attempted to start a band with Denny Dias, but the venture was unsuccessful. Barbra Streisand recorded the Fagen/Becker composition ‘I Mean to Shine’ on her album Barbra Joan Streisand, released in August 1971, and the duo met producer Gary Katz, who hired them as staff songwriters for ABC/Dunhill in Los Angeles, where he had just become a staff producer. Katz suggested that Becker and Fagen form a band as a way to record their songs, and Steely Dan -- who took their name from a dildo in William Burroughs' Naked Lunch -- was formed shortly afterward. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic)
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