379. Steely Dan - Aja (1977)
1. Black Cow
3. Deacon Blues
5. Home At Last
6. I Got The News
This is a hard album to categorise, it is most certainly jazz, but it is also so pop oriented that it is hard to put it in one place. It is definitely more jazzy than previous Steely Dan efforts, it is more complex music but that doesn't mean any more challenging. If there is one good thing about Steely Dan it's the fact that they manage to make pretty complex music that is immediately accessible even if you are not getting all the nuances of it, at the first, second or third time you listen to it.
I really don't know yet 100% what to make of this album, I know I like it and I know it has been one of those subtle albums that creeps up on you. The first time you hear it you don't think much of it, but as time goes on it starts seeping in. Like a good wine.
What I also know is that the music is very pretty and extremely well played, having Wayne Shorter on the sax probably helps. This is the best kind of Jazz pop that money can buy, it isn't pretentious but it is interesting and complex. So recommended.
1. Deacon Blue
2. Black Cow
4. Home At Last
In 2003, the album was ranked number 145 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The album is considered to be quite ambitious and sophisticated. The eight minute-long title track features complex jazz-based changes and a solo by renowned saxophonist Wayne Shorter, as well as dextrous drum work by drummer Steve Gadd -- especially at the end of the tune.
Aja is also the subject of one of the Classic Albums series of documentaries about the making of famous albums. The documentary includes interviews with Becker & Fagen (among others) plus live in the studio versions of songs from the album and the opportunity to hear some of the rejected (but not credited to protect the egos of the guilty) guitar solos for "Peg" before Jay Graydon produced the satisfactory take.
Anatomy of Deacon Blue: