Aja — Steely Dan's landmark sixth studio album now on UHQR!
Definitive reissue Ultra High Quality Record, the pinnacle of high-quality vinyl!
45 RPM LP release limited to 30,000 numbered copies
Mastered by Bernie Grundman from an analog, non EQ'd tape copy
Pressed at Quality Record Pressings using 200-gram Clarity Vinyl®
Purest possible pressing and most visually stunning presentation and packaging!
Tip-on old style gatefold double pocket jackets with film lamination by Stoughton Printing
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."
This landmark album in the band's career features a sophisticated, polished sound that reflects the band's meticulous attention to detail and the influence of jazz and fusion music.
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.
The album's title track, "Aja," opens with a serene piano introduction before building into a complex, multi-layered arrangement that features intricate drum patterns, subtle guitar lines, and a soaring saxophone solo. Other standout tracks include "Deacon Blues," a melancholy ballad with introspective lyrics, and "Peg," a catchy tune with a funky groove and infectious chorus.
Throughout the album, Steely Dan's lyrics explore themes of disillusionment, regret, and the quest for fulfillment. In "Black Cow," the opening track, the narrator laments the loss of a relationship, while in "Josie," the album's closing track, the band celebrates the freedom and excitement of a new love affair.
The album's meticulous production values, including multiple layers of instrumentation and intricate vocal harmonies, showcase Steely Dan's commitment to sonic perfection.
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.
This stereo UHQR reissue will be limited to 30,000 copies, with gold foil individually numbered jackets, housed in a premium slipcase with a wooden dowel spine.
Overall, Aja represents a high-water mark in Steely Dan's career, showcasing the band's unique blend of jazz, rock, and pop influences in a polished, sophisticated package. The album has become a classic of the 1970s and remains a favorite among music lovers to this day.