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History gives Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagen the last, hearty laugh on this, the crown jewel in their remarkable canon of 1970s Mensz-pop. Sneaking onto the charts a half-decade earlier with sinuous, jazz-inflected "rock", the dysfunctional duo's acerbic, anti-heroic visions had been critically lauded for their band identity and killer guitar riffs, then promptly challenged when the two songwriters retired from the road, dissolved any formal band line-up and used the studio as laboratory. Aja carried the added indignity of its increased focus on sophisticated jazz models and musicianship, which carried the Dan's ambitions even further in terms of suave harmonies, intricate song structures and brilliant playing. Time has proven them wiser than their rock critic detractors: these seven songs abound in knotty plots, sneaky imagery and drop-dead brilliant performances from a blue-chip studio repertory studded with first-call jazz players epitomised by Wayne Shorter's towering solo on the title song. From the hard-boiled jazz romance of "Deacon Blues" to the twisted Homeric vamp of "Home at Last", the veiled but ominous swing of "Peg" to the sci-fi eroticism of "Josie", Aja is a modern pop classic and the coolest fusion record no one ever thought to lump in that category. --Sam Sutherland
Top Customer Reviews
If you are considering your first SD purchase... THIS IS THE ONE TO GET. Don't muck around with those compilations that. Steely Dan albums must be listened to in their original context.
It is solid testament to Aja that it hit the streets slap bang in the middle of the 'Punk' era, a musical movement that was championed by the 'New Musical Expresss', yet, in their review the NME hailed Aja as one of the all time great albums with possibly the greatest 'side 1' of any album ever released. (Remember 'side ones'?)
Side one actually comprised of three musical masterpieces; Black Cow, Aja and Deacon Blues and even now, 25 odd years later I am hearing new things in these songs, especially on the newly remastered release. Side 2 isn't bad either. Peg, Home at Last, I've got the News and Josie are all fantastic offerings.
As well as the superb songwriting and mind blowing lyrics watch out for virtuoso performances from the likes of Wayne Shorter, Steve Gadd, Chuck Rainey and Larry Carlton as well as the amazing vocals of Fagen and the backing vocals (including Mike McDonald). The slick production of Gary Katz tops it all off.
"This is the day of the expanding man, that shape is my shade, there where I used to stand"...classic!
An absolute masterpiece.
What can you say about it? is it jazz, is it pop? is it music? in one word "YES" it's all of this and more.
"The men from Dan" used some of the best session men in music business to record this, rehearsing and playing these guys within an inch of their lives!
It shows for contained of this album not only is music but audio art.
Of course Becker and Fagan did all the remastering themselves and what great job they have done, they are such control freaks, who can blame with music of this standard.
For all you Dan freaks out there who didn't buy the first C.D. release because of poor sound forget that buy this version with confidence, it is WOW!! in terms of sound and content
I must say I'm blown away with the sound on this. I can truly hear bells and whistles I hadn't heard on the standard cd. If you haven't bought AJA (if not why not??) this is the version to get - it's cheap enough too - way to go, enjoy the delights of these guys at the top of their game in their studio bliss.
To put everything into perspective I'll give you a rundown of my modest equipment set up. Rega Planar 3, RB300 arm with Michell Technoweight, Ortofon Red MM cartridge, Audiolab 8000A amp, VDH The Clearwater cables and MS 208s Speakers.
Even if you already own the album on vinyl, I'm confident that you wouldn't be disappointed with this version - I only wish I could obtain a similar version of 'Gaucho' for a reasonable price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is The Dan's masterpiece. From the opening sounds of funkier-than-thou Black Cow to the closing refrains of Josie, it mesmerises throughout. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Andy K
Steely Dan's 6th studio album, released in 1977, is a superb, jazz-flavoured confection featuring 7 classy tracks with 2 lengthy excursions, 'Aja' (pronounced 'Asia'), which... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Prog Rob
Another great album from one the most original bands on the planet,they do say less is morePublished 22 days ago by simon john porter
Stunning audio quality. This will thrill you if your system is up to it.Published 5 months ago by Scampo
Purchased this to replace my old, worn out copy. One of my most played vinyls- simply brilliant, particularly the drumming of Steve Gadd on the title track. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Rob54hollo