Steely Dan’s sixth album “Aja” fulfils all this attributes perfectly: a sophisticated fusion of rock, pop and jazz, complex arrangements, clever lyrics – oscillating between sinister N.Y. nostalgia and sarcastic L.A. noir – and a ground-breaking production.
But the story behind the music is what gives “Aja” that special touch: The drug-induced odyssey (“Home At Last”!) to sonic perfection that culminated in endless sessions with nearly forty top-notch musicians, including six different drummers and seven different guitarists to record only seven songs (!). A myth that influences our notion of 70s West Coast Rock Bohemianism – comparable to Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”.
The timeless artwork – based on Hideki Fujii‘s photo of the model Sayoko Yamaguchi – ennobles the album finally. With its exotic elegance and clean reduction anticipates Fujii‘s picture-language already the aesthetics of the 80s.“Aja” is Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s masterpiece in a catalog of outstanding albums, a milestone of West Coast Jazz-Rock and a must-have for every music enthusiast. “They’ve got a name for the winners in the world, I want a name when I lose / They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues…”