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Steely Dan - Aja

111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Pioneering pop/jazz band Steely Dan, formed by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker in the early 70Â’s, had already secured five U.S Top 40 albums before the release of Aja in 1977. Aja, however, was to prove to be the biggest selling album of Steely DanÂ’s illustrious career, reaching Number 3 in the U.S. Billboard chart, spending a year in the Top 40 there and also reaching number 5 in the U.K.

Aja was the first British Top 10 hit for Steely Dan and was also the first album by Becker and Fagen as a duo. Becker and Fagen, renowned for their relentless perfectionism in the recording studio, recall the history of an album that was a year in the making, but rewarded by a prestigious Grammy Award® and three major hit singles, Peg, Deacon Blues and Josie. Michael McDonald, later of the Doobie Brothers, who did guest backing vocals on Aja, the late British musician Ian Dury, record producer Gary Katz, and the legendary session musicians who worked on Aja, also contribute to this fascinating documentary.

Steely DanÂ’s Aja has proved to be one of the most outstanding jazz-rock albums in the history of popular music. This is a vivid portrait of a 70Â’s record that is still as fresh and as memorable more than two decades after its release, a true Classic Album.


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Donald Fagen, Walter Becker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Ent
  • DVD Release Date: October 3, 2006
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I5XD06
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,288 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Jon Ell on February 26, 2001
Format: DVD
This DVD is a must-see/must-own for any serious fan of the Dan. Aja remains the duo's landmark album; more than that one of the shortlist of truly significant, groundbreaking "rock" albums of the '70s. Presented in a documentary style, it gives a brief background into the history of the band, then proceeds directly to the music itself. Donald and Walter attempt to break it down song by song, track by track, supplementing their revealing insights with interviews with the individual session players on each song, e.g., Larry Carlton, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Wayne Shorter, Michael McDonald, etc. I've shown this DVD to friends not intimately acquainted with SD and turned them into instant fans of the music. Btw, this makes a great companion to the Two Against Nature DVD. Although it lacks "2vN's" lush DTS 5.1 sound, it more than makes up for it with a truly revealing look at a remarkable album for all time.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By S J Buck on May 17, 2007
Format: DVD
This is a marvellous DVD on the making of Steely Dans great album Aja. All of Walter Becker and Donald Fagans legendary perfectionism is on display.

Fortunately for us all the tapes of their sessions were saved, so we are able to hear some of the fabulous guitar solos they rejected for Peg; but then when you re-hear the original you understand why. There are interviews with many guest musicians: Jazz Tenor great Wayne Shorter.

Drummer Bernard Purdie who demonstrates his uniquely funky drumming style.

Michael McDonald talks about some the fiendishly difficult backing vocals he multi-tracked with himself.

This is an essential purchase for the Dan fan or for anybody generally interested in the music making process by two of the most fascinating musicians in the business.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
When I learned that this video existed, I couldn't get my hands on it fast enough. I am a bonafide Steely Dan fanatic, although most of my fanaticism over the years has centered around "Aja". Having listened to this album thousands of times over the years,I'd always wanted to know more: who were the musicians used, and what did they have to say; how were various tracks constructed, and how did Becker and Fagan actually feel about their own masterful creations. This video does that and more. If youre' looking for an in-concert video, you might be somewhat disappointed, as this video rarely features completed, polished verrions of any songs. You will, however, get great insights into the minds of Donald and Walter, who are in my opinion to of the most ingenious users of the studio in music history. Their intellectual senses of humor are also on stage in this piece. The bottom line is this: I couldn't wait to rip the celophane off and get the tape in the VCR -and it was worth the wait. Grab this and keep it forever.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Missing Person on January 20, 2005
Format: DVD
I really don't get where some of the other reviews for this video/ DVD are coming from, saying that it's a good 'sleeping aid' or things of this nature. A big part of what makes the "Aja" album such a landmark is the way it put to use such spellbinding musicianship from a long list of different players, and the sophisticated elegance and beauty of the songs themselves--this really IS fascinating stuff, even though many fans unfortunately don't seem to give a damn, and if that's the case, I don't know why they are bothering with this DVD in the first place. Another reviewer commented that you've got to really LOVE Steely Dan to really enjoy this DVD--well you know what, people do love Steely Dan and for good reason--if you come to this DVD expecting mindless entertainment to watch while you throw back a few beers, you're out of your mind. This DVD gives you a thrilling peek into the making of the album, demonstrating some of the musical techniques that were used--the way the bass was doubled on guitar on "Josie", and the layering of Michael McDonald's background vocals on "Peg" to point out a couple examples. McDonald gives a highly intriguing, if ever-so-slightly derogatory discussion of his performance on "Peg", and you also get great interview/ performance segments from Chuck Rainey, Rick Marotta, Dean Parks, Denny Dias, and Bernard Purdie, as well as great segments from guitarist/ arranger Larry Carlton, producer Gary Katz, master engineer Roger Nichols, and of course, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker themselves.Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Majack on March 30, 2000
Format: DVD
A must-see not only for die-hard Dan fans, but for all discerning audiophiles as well. No matter how much you dig Steely Dan - and especially this landmark album - you'll have a much deeper appreciation for both after experiencing this production. Among the many revelations, you'll be left with 2 distinct lasting impressions: 1) the utterly Masterful instrumental prowess of all the great session musicians employed by Becker and Fagen; and 2) the truly amazing musical and artistic vision of the 2 principals themselves: this is a duo - and an album - for the ages. Perhaps the highest accomplishment any artist can aspire to is the creation of a work that outlives the time in which it was created. No problem there...this album will sound incredible a hundred years from now. Kudos to the producers of the Classic Album Series; it's a wonderful concept brilliantly rendered. See also the Stevie Wonder selection in the series.
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Aja DVD
My question exactly. Looks like it might not be.
Nov 18, 2006 by A. K. Moore |  See all 3 posts
love the music but what exactly is the vid content??
it's been a while so I don't know if you've already purchased this DVD but the video is a collection of anecdotes from the studio musicians who originally performed on the AJA sessions, Walter & Donald in the studio bringing mixes up from the original master and talking about how they did the... Read More
Jan 27, 2007 by Garry Lee Rosenberg |  See all 3 posts
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