1977 Steely Dan – Aja

Aja is the sixth album by the jazz rock band Steely Dan. Originally released in 1977 on ABC Records, it became the group’s best-selling album. Peaking at No. 3 on the U.S. charts and No. 5 in the United Kingdom, it was the band’s first platinum album, eventually selling over 5 million copies. In July 1978, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording. In 2003, the album was ranked number 145 on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. It is widely regarded as a good test recording for audiophiles because of its excellent production value.

Donald Fagen has said the title of the album comes from the name of a Korean woman who married the brother of a high-school friend of his. The cover photo by Hideki Fujii features Japanese model and actress Sayoko Yamaguchi.

The album features several leading session musicians. The eight-minute-long title track features jazz-based changes and a solo by saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

Aja is the subject of one of the Classic Albums, a series of documentaries about the making of famous albums. The documentary includes a song-by-song study of the album (the only omission being “I Got The News,” which is played during the closing credits), interviews with Steely Dan co-founders Walter Becker and Donald Fagen (among others) plus new, live-in-studio versions of songs from the album. Becker and Fagen also play back several of the rejected guitar solos for “Peg,” which were recorded before Jay Graydon produced the satisfactory take.

When DTS attempted to make a 5.1 version, it was discovered that the multitrack masters for both “Black Cow” and the title track were missing. For this same reason, a multichannel SACD version was cancelled by Universal Music. Donald Fagen has offered a $600 reward for the missing masters or any information that leads to their recovery.

In 2011, the Library of Congress selected Aja for inclusion in the United States National Recording Registry based on its cultural, artistic or historical significance

Tracks

1  Black Cow (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 5:10
2  Aja (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 8:00
3  Deacon Blues (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 7:36
4  Peg (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 4:00
5  Home at Last (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 5:35
6  I Got The News (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 5:07
Josie (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 4:30

Musicians

SynthesizerDonald Fagen
GuitarWalter Becker
SaxJim Horn
SaxJackie Kelso
SaxBill Perkins
SaxPlas Johnson
TrumpetChuck Findley
TromboneLew McCreary
TromboneDick Hyde

Other Musicians

1 Black Cow

BassChuck Rainey
DrumsPaul Humphrey
GuitarLarry Carlton
ClavinetJoe Sample
PianoVictor Feldman
SaxTom Scott
Background VocalsClydie King
Background VocalsSherlie Matthews
Background VocalsVenetta Fields


2 Aja

BassChuck Rainey
DrumsSteve Gadd
PercussionVictor Feldman
GuitarLarry Carlton
GuitarDenny Dias
PianoJoe Sample
PianoMichael Omartian
SaxWayne Shorter
Background VocalsTimothy B. Schmit


3 Deacon Blues

BassWalter Becker
DrumsBernard Purdie
GuitarLarry Carlton
GuitarLee Ritenour
PianoVictor Feldman
Background VocalsClydie King
Background VocalsSherlie Matthews
Background VocalsVenetta Fields


4 Peg

BassChuck Rainey
DrumsRick Marotta
Guitar (solo)Jay Graydon
GuitarSteve Khan
PianoPaul Griffin
PercussionVictor Feldman
PercussionGary Coleman
LyriconTom Scott
Background VocalsMichael McDonald
Background VocalsPaul Griffin


5 Home at Last

BassChuck Rainey
DrumsBernard Purdie
Guitar (solo)Walter Becker
GuitarLarry Carlton
PianoVictor Feldman
VibraphoneVictor Feldman
Background VocalsTimothy B. Schmit


6 I Got The News

BassChuck Rainey
DrumsEd Greene
Guitar (solo)Walter Becker
Guitar (solo)Larry Carlton
GuitarDean Parks
VibraphoneVictor Feldman
Background VocalsMichael McDonald
Background VocalsClydie King
Background VocalsSherlie Matthews
Background VocalsVenetta Fields
Background VocalsRebecca Louis


7 Josie

BassChuck Rainey
DrumsJim Keltner
Guitar (solo)Walter Becker
GuitarLarry Carlton
GuitarDean Parks
PianoVictor Feldman
PercussionJim Keltner
Background VocalsTimothy B. Schmit

Liner Notes

Producer – Gary Katz
Arranged By [Horns] – Tom Scott
Engineer – Al Schmitt, Bill Schnee, Elliot Scheiner, Roger Nichols
Engineer (Assistant) – Ed Rack, Joe Bellamy, Ken Klinger, Lenise Bent, Linda Tyler, Ron Pangaliman
Engineer (Executive) – Roger Nichols
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman

Phonographic Copyright (p) – ABC Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – ABC Records, Inc.
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria
Published By – ABC/Dunhill Music, Inc.
Recorded At – The Village Recorder
Recorded At – Producers Workshop
Recorded At – Warner Bros. Recording Studios
Recorded At – ABC Recording Studios
Recorded At – Sound Labs, Hollywood
Recorded At – A&R Studios
Mastered At – A&M Studios