Steely Dan - Aja




Aja — Steely Dan's landmark sixth studio album reissue

Hybrid Stereo SACD release from Analogue Productions

Mastered by Bernie Grundman from an analog, non-Dolby EQ'd quarter-inch 15 ips tape copy

Plays in all CD and SACD players

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."

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.

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.

 

 



1. Black Cow
2. Aja
3. Deacon Blues
4. Peg
5. Home At Last
6. I Got The News
7. Josie

Customer Reviews (5.00 Stars) 3 person(s) rated this product.

Just get it!

posted on 03/28/2024
5 Stars
Reviewer: PJ
For about two years I could barely contain my excitement that Analogue Productions were issuing this SACD - it arrived today in the UK and from the very first notes, I wasn't disappointed. Big, fat, warm, balanced, detailed - whatever the adjectives, AP's mastering, imho, truly honours the fastidious care Steely Dan took in the record's production. Just get it - before you weep and have to wait for a repress :)


Finally

posted on 03/26/2024
5 Stars
Reviewer: Marc
To say I have not been entirely impressed with the Steely Dan series so far would be an understatement. However, Aja is the first one I can honestly say sounds great, and here's hoping the trend continues. Color me impressed.


Astonishing

posted on 03/25/2024
5 Stars
Reviewer: James
Quite possibly the best SACD I have heard so far, and I have dozens of them. Right from the start, the music jumps out of the speakers. Every drum hit is sharp and precise, the backing vocals have remarkable presence, the bass is clean and not boomy. The whole recording sounds alive. I do not have expensive gear. I am playing the DSD layer from a Sony Blu-ray player over HDMI feeding a Yamaha receiver. I will likely buy the entire SD series eventually. If you're even thinking about it, go for it. You won't regret it.


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