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STEELY DAN AJA: CLASSIC ALBUMS
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Steely Dan - Aja
This profile of Steely Dan's elegant 1977 masterpiece, Aja, is a feast for Dan fans, a thoughtful, satisfyingly detailed assessment of the album and its bejeweled fusion of jazz, R&B, rock, and pop. Better yet, the documentary's producers elicit atypically straightforward, revealing interviews from the group's stealthy principals, songwriters Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, who jettison enough of their signature sarcasm to touch on the autobiographical threads, cultural anomie, and serious musical ambition audible in their work. In that respect, the production rivals any extant interviews with this proudly cerebral, occasionally evasive musical team.
The duo, along with producer Gary Katz, engineer Roger Nichols, and a generous cross-section of the crack New York and Los Angeles musicians featured on the sessions, dissect the sleek layers of the songs both musically and lyrically, both in modern performances featuring the original players and in control-room playbacks of the original multitrack master tapes. Becker and Fagen prove articulate, self-aware, and dryly funny subjects, and the subtlety and richness of the music offer an ample canvas for discovery. --Sam Sutherland
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Top Customer Reviews
This video goes into great detail on the methods and mixing of most of the songs on the "Aja" CD (all except "I've Got The News"). They include appearances of "guest" musicians who they used in some of the songs. Took each component of each song separately, then showed how they all blend in together to make the final product.
A very interesting video enhanced by Becker and Fagen's dry witty humorous remarks along the way. The only disappointment was that they omitted a full analysis on "I've Got The News" instead just playing that song with the closing credits.
Other great sections include the alternative guitar solos for Peg, where you can see the quandary that Walt and Don are in trying not to dump on these unacceptable solos, all by session greats (quote of the disc goes to Don who, after playing one solo track, just shrugs and says "enough said on that one, really."). Also, Chuck Rainey playing five string bass for us.
Criticisms? Doesn't cover all the songs, gives you the sinking feeling that they won't do a DVD Classic Albums of Gaucho, and makes you realize how much of a hack "musician" you are in comparison to these guys. I really needed that.
Most recent customer reviews
This is what the series is all about ! A great complement to their superb music. Can't believe that Donald Fagen says, at one point, that Micheal McDonald is slightly off key !!!Published 12 months ago by Claude Girard
This series which covers over 30 different albums now, is usually very good and this DVD is no exception. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2011 by drumforfood
A very well done dvd and a must view for any Steely Dan fan. No fan of the band will be disappointed with this purchase. Just be prepared for more "words" than music. Read morePublished on Nov. 26 2003 by The Woj
If you are a Steely Dan fan, you have to buy this. The insights into how the pair work in the studio, hearing Fagen play back and discuss discarded guitar solos for Peg, hearing... Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2002
This one is definitely a must for any musician/Steely Dan fanatic. The interaction between Donald and Walter behind the board is priceless and a window into their songwriting... Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2002
Steely Dan are One of the Coolest,baddest,Tightest Acts I've Ever Heard.I truly enjoy&get a Kick out of there Musical&Lyric Presentation. Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2002 by MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD
This is a fascinating documentary about a fascinating band: Steely Dan. A must for Dan fans, this DVD takes apart the dense arrangements of the Dan classic recording Aja. Read morePublished on May 24 2002 by Lisa Smith-Brooke
This is one of the very best music documentaries ever. After 24 years, I still listen to "Aja" regularly. Seeing how it was created has made it new again. Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2002
I was pleasantly surprised by how good this documentary is, especially considering the potential for this format to go to cheese. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2002 by The Feefmeister
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