Home at Last
I Got the News
A work of immaculate craft and insinuating wit, 1977's Aja is perhaps the most fully-realized album in Steely Dan's catalog. Leaders Donald Fagan and Walter Becker enlisted an all-star crew of jazz/rock players - drummer Steve Gadd and saxophonist Wayne Shorter among them - to lend this album an urbane finesse and dark-tinged sparkle. Steely Dan pays tribute to old-school jazz in "Deacon Blues" and brings a sophisticated R&B groove to "Peg" and "Home At Last." "Black Cow" has a sardonic sting, while "Josie" radiates warmth with a minimum of irony. The arrangements are gorgeously expansive -- the title tune is a jazz mini-suite. Fagan's vocals (embellished with high-gloss harmonies) are bitingly dry with a twist of venom. Behind the album's cool exterior is a burning passion for fine musicianship. Undeniably excellent, this album's hipster élan has made it an enduring favorite among rock and jazz aficionados alike.