“Aja” by Steely Dan - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1977Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

Anti-rock snoozefest from the Donald Fagen / Walter Becker duo, aided by a mind-boggling number of session players. Giving us some sort of idea of what we're dealing with here, the 8 minute title-track, a paean to the mystique of the orient, was recorded over the course of a year in six different studios, used 360 rolls of two-inch tape, ran into seven pages of complex sheet music, featured a 64-bar tenor sax solo from Wather Report's Wayne Shorter and a whole section of drumming improv from Steve Gadd. All that for that? Aye, whatever turns you on I suppose. This is followed by the would-be single “Deacon Blues”, a song about the broken dream of a broken man living a broken life, which would give Glasgow's Deacon Blue their name, throwing them into disrepute with me. It's just so wishy-washy. The mildly interesting “Peg” opens side two with a fairly catchy funky riff which would later be framed by De La Soul in their famous “Eye Know” single. Any joy that might be had is ruined by the guitar solo which, the story goes, took nine session musicians until one, local LA musician Jay Graydon, nailed it to the satisfaction of their pay masters. The album finishes which one of the least offensive cuts, the straight funk of “Josie” pretty much retaining some disciplined order for the 4+ minutes duration. Folks say that with 30 of the best session musicians of the day and a whole lotta critical acclaim, this is near the pinnacle of all jazz-pop-rock hybrids. Kill me now.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [05:10] 2.2.png Steely Dan - Black Cow (Walter Becker, Donald Fagen) Disco / Funk
A2 [07:57] 2.7.png Steely Dan - Aja (Walter Becker, Donald Fagen) Prog
A3 [07:33] 3.0.png Steely Dan - Deacon Blues (Walter Becker, Donald Fagen) Soft Rock / A.O.R.
B1 [03:57] 3.8.png Steely Dan - Peg (Walter Becker, Donald Fagen) Disco / Funk
B2 [05:34] 2.3.png Steely Dan - Home At Last (Walter Becker, Donald Fagen) Disco / Funk
B3 [05:06] 1.8.png Steely Dan - I Got The News (Walter Becker, Donald Fagen) Disco / Funk
B4 [04:33] 3.7.png Steely Dan - Josie (Walter Becker, Donald Fagen) Disco / Funk

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