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Reassessing

Steely Dan: Aja

By Published: August 6, 2006
The legacy of Aja can be summed up with refreshing simplicity. It's a collection of exceptional songs, written by talented songwriters at their creative peak, and played by a rare combination of brilliant musicians with interestingly diverse talents. Nearly 30 years on, Aja remains a musical gumbo with all the right ingredients.

Following a 19-year recording silence, Steely Dan fans have recently been treated to a band renaissance consisting of several tours and a couple of new album releases. One of those releases, Two Against Nature, won the Grammy for album of the year in 2000, an award that some speculated was the Academy's way of offering reparation for snubbing Aja nearly a quarter of a century earlier.

If there's truth to that claim, so be it. The Grammy-Award winning album stands on its own as an artistic work, regardless of comparison with previous works by the band. After nearly a decade of feverish creativity and productivity, running 1972-1980, the band could after all have chosen to rest on its considerable laurels.

For the legions of Steely Dan fans, anything from this point on is "lagniappe."

Track Listing: Black Cow; Aja; Deacon Blues; Peg; Home at Last; I Got the News; Josie.

Personnel: Walter Becker: Bass, Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Vocals; Larry Carlton: Guitar, Guitar (Electric); Pete Christlieb: Flute, Saxophone, Sax (Tenor); Gary Coleman: Percussion; Denny Diaz: Guitar; Donald Fagen: Synthesizer, Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Whistle (Instrument); Victor Feldman: Percussion, Piano, Keyboards, Piano (Electric), Vibraphone; Venetta Fields: Vocals; Chuck Findley: Horn, Brass; Steve Gadd: Drums; Jay Graydon: Guitar, Guitar (Electric); Ed Greene: Drums; Paul Griffin: Keyboards, Piano (Electric), Vocals; Don Grolnick: Keyboards, Clavinet; Jim Horn: Flute, Saxophone; Paul Humphrey: Drums; Richard Hyde: Trombone; Slyde Hyde: Brass Plas Johnson: Flute, Saxophone; Jackie Kelso: Flute, Horn, Saxophone; Jim Keltner: Percussion, Drums; Steve Khan: Guitar; Clydie King: Vocals; Rebecca Louis: Vocals; Rick Marotta: Drums; Shirley Matthews: Vocals; Lou McCreary: Brass; Michael McDonald: Vocals; Michael Omartian: Piano, Keyboards; Dean Parks: Guitar; Bill Perkins: Flute, Horn, Saxophone; Bernard "Pretty" Purdie: Drums; Chuck Rainey: Bass; Lee Ritenour: Guitar; Joe Sample: Keyboards, Piano (Electric), Clavinet; Timothy B. Schmit: Bass, Vocals; Tom Scott: Flute, Saxophone, Sax (Tenor), Lyricon; Wayne Shorter: Flute, Saxophone, Sax (Tenor).



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