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Steely Dan - Aja CD (album) cover

AJA

Steely Dan

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.08 | 182 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars Though popular and get pop radio play, this album was, to me, a masterpiece of almost jazz fusion. I mean, look at the musicians involved with the project it reads like a Who's Who of the Jazz fusion scene in LA in the mid-70s: Joe Sample and Larry Carlton of the Jazz Crusaders, Wayne Shorter, Steve Gadd, Victor Feldman, Tom Scott, Jim Horn, Chuck Findley, Denny Dias, Jay Graydon, Steve Khan, Dean Parks, Lee Ritenour, Pete Christlieb, Don Grolnick, Michael Omartian, Richard "Slyde" Hyde, Plas Johnson, Jackie Kelso, Lou McCreary, Bill Perkins, Bernard Purdie, Chuck Rainey, Ed Greene, and Jim Keltner and Rick Marotta!!! FAgan and Becker orchestrating a fusin big band! Tight, one of the best recorded and engineered albums I had heard up to that point (so far superior to their previous albums in terms of sound engineering). The album sounds, to this day, like a sonic wet dream.

"Black Cow" (9/10) starts the album off with very cool groove. Once you've played this song you can't stop: you just have to play the whole album. Amazing background vocals and horns. Lyrically astounding. I love intellect in the lyrics. "Aja" (10/10) is without a doubt the coolest jazz song to get pop air play! The instrumental jam is mesmerizing! Love the electric piano and, of course, STEVE GADD's amazing work. "Deacon Blues" (10/10) like "Black Cow" just sucks you into the coolness of the groove, sit backand enjoy the story, enjoy the b vox and tight jazz performances. "Peg" (7/10) the "big" hit from the album is, IMO, the weakest song on the album. Tight performances can't overcome a bit too much repetition. Amazing bass line; sweet guitar solo, nice lyricon sax. Never liked Michael MacDonald's voice. "Home at Last" (10/10) a "pop" song about Ulysses! I was and still am blown away by this song. The extended instrumental parts are sheer magic and bliss. I want to be tied to the mast!! "I got the News" ( 7/10) sounds like a funked up "Kid Charlemagne"--nice piano, bass, and drum work--and very tight, precise performances, just not melodic or engaging enough. "Josie" (10/10) has one of the most infectious rhythm guitar riffs ever put to vinyl. Add to that the amazing bass and super tight performances and POW! a great song that hooks you in and never lets go. I always hated that this song had to end!

To be sure, one of the iconic albums of the 70s--with every song evoking memories of sunshine and ease (my college days). A masterpiece that stands up over time better than 95% of the stuff that came before or since.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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