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
Deacon Blues (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 7:36
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

Bass Chuck Rainey
Drums Paul Humphrey
Guitar Larry Carlton
Clavinet Joe Sample
Piano Victor Feldman
Sax Tom Scott
Background Vocals Clydie King
Background Vocals Sherlie Matthews
Background Vocals Venetta Fields


2 Aja

Bass Chuck Rainey
Drums Steve Gadd
Percussion Victor Feldman
Guitar Larry Carlton
Guitar Denny Dias
Piano Joe Sample
Piano Michael Omartian
Sax Wayne Shorter
Background Vocals Timothy B. Schmit


3 Deacon Blues

Bass Walter Becker
Drums Bernard Purdie
Guitar Larry Carlton
Guitar Lee Ritenour
Acoustic Guitar Dean Parks
Piano Victor Feldman
Sax (solo) Pete Christlieb
Background Vocals Clydie King
Background Vocals Sherlie Matthews
Background Vocals Venetta Fields


4 Peg

Bass Chuck Rainey
Drums Rick Marotta
Guitar (solo) Jay Graydon
Guitar Steve Khan
Piano Paul Griffin
Percussion Victor Feldman
Percussion Gary Coleman
Lyricon Tom Scott
Background Vocals Michael McDonald
Background Vocals Paul Griffin


5 Home at Last

Bass Chuck Rainey
Drums Bernard Purdie
Guitar (solo) Walter Becker
Guitar Larry Carlton
Piano Victor Feldman
Vibraphone Victor Feldman
Background Vocals Timothy B. Schmit


6 I Got The News

Bass Chuck Rainey
Drums Ed Greene
Guitar (solo) Walter Becker
Guitar (solo) Larry Carlton
Guitar Dean Parks
Vibraphone Victor Feldman
Background Vocals Michael McDonald
Background Vocals Clydie King
Background Vocals Sherlie Matthews
Background Vocals Venetta Fields
Background Vocals Rebecca Louis


7 Josie

Bass Chuck Rainey
Drums Jim Keltner
Guitar (solo) Walter Becker
Guitar Larry Carlton
Guitar Dean Parks
Piano Victor Feldman
Percussion Jim Keltner
Background Vocals Timothy 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