Steely Dan is an American jazz rock band founded by core members Walter Becker (guitars, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals) in 1972. Blending elements of jazz, R&B, traditional pop, and sophisticated studio production with ironic and cryptic lyrics, the band enjoyed critical and commercial success starting from the early 1970s until breaking up in 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist:  Steely Dan
Title:  Aja
Year:  1977
Format:  LP
Label:  ABC Records
Catalog#  25046 XOT

Aja (pronounced like Asia) is the sixth album by the jazz rock band Steely Dan. Originally released in 1977 on ABC Records, it became the group’s best-selling album.  In July 1978, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording. In 2003, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and ranked number 145 on Rolling Stones “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. It is widely regarded as one of the best test recordings for audiophiles because of its high production standards.

Steely Dan hadn’t been a real working band since Pretzel Logic, but with Aja, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen‘s obsession with sonic detail and fascination with composition reached new heights. A coolly textured and immaculately produced collection of sophisticated jazz-rock, Aja has none of the overt cynicism or self-consciously challenging music that distinguished previous Steely Dan records. Instead, it’s a measured and textured album, filled with subtle melodies and accomplished, jazzy solos that blend easily into the lush instrumental backdrops. But Aja isn’t just about texture, since Becker and Fagen‘s songs are their most complex and musically rich set of songs — even the simplest song, the sunny pop of “Peg,” has layers of jazzy vocal harmonies. In fact, Steely Dan ignores rock on Aja, preferring to fuse cool jazz, blues, and pop together in a seamless, seductive fashion. It’s complex music delivered with ease, and although the duo’s preoccupation with clean sound and self-consciously sophisticated arrangements would eventually lead to a dead end, Aja is a shining example of jazz-rock at its finest.

 

Side one
1.  Black Cow   (5:07)
2.  Aja  (7:56)
3.  Deacon Blues  (7:26)

Side two
1.  Peg  (3:58)
2.  Home At Last  (5:31)
3.  I Got The News  (5:03)
4.  Josie  (4:30)

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