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Rhythms and Roots

Rhythms and Roots – “Aja”

Ana Carolina González-Peña • July 01, 2024

Rhythms and Roots: A Musical Journey with Nick

Today’s Recommendation: Steely Dan’s “Aja”

Steely Dan’s 1977 album “Aja” is a masterful fusion of rock, pop, and jazz that exemplifies the sophisticated sound of the 1970s. Originating as a full band, Steely Dan eventually evolved into a duo comprising Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.

They employed highly skilled session musicians to achieve their distinct musical vision, resulting in “Aja,” an album renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.

With its smooth, refined nature, “Aja” offers a listening experience that bridges different generations, making it an excellent choice for people who appreciate both traditional and contemporary sounds.

Q: Why do you think “Aja” is especially appealing to the audience at the Center for Modern Aging in Princeton?
Nick: “Aja” is an album that blends familiar jazz elements with modern sounds, making it accessible and enjoyable for our audience. It has a smooth, refined quality that isn’t aggressive, which can resonate with listeners who enjoyed jazz, classical music, or classic rock bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Q: What settings or moods do you recommend for listening to “Aja?”
Nick: “Aja” is versatile and suits various settings and moods. Whether you’re focusing on work, relaxing in the evening, or enjoying a calm morning with coffee, this album provides the perfect backdrop. Its sophisticated lyrics and musical craftsmanship ensure a timeless listening experience.

Q: How does “Aja” reflect the themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in music?
Nick: Steely Dan’s use of diverse session musicians, many from jazz backgrounds, highlights the importance of musical diversity and collaboration. By blending elements from different genres and showcasing the talents of a wide range of musicians, “Aja” exemplifies how inclusivity can enrich and elevate music, creating a more profound and varied listening experience.

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