Larry McDonough: Aja
Larry McDonough (piano, Fender Rhodes)
Simple Gifts (LM Jazz)
Larry McDonough (piano, Fender Rhodes),
Richard Terrill (tenor, soprano saxes), Craig Matarrese (bass, electric bass), Chaz Draper (drums).
Composed by Donald Fagen & Walter Becker.
Recorded: July 2004
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
What's that cliché? Something about not discussing religion and politics in a barroom? If music and/or rock nerds are involved in the conversation, I would suggest avoiding the topic of Steely Dan as well. Given a cursory listen, you wouldn't think that the music of Fagen & Becker would be so polarizing, but I'm telling you, the spittle will fly! Are they rock? Jazz? Pseudo-reggae? Too slick? Well, this isn't a barroom, it's the Internet. Sure, it can be something of an electronic barroom, but I'll take that chance. Obviously this version of "Aja" shows the jazzier side of Steely Dan. The sax lines of Richard Terrill and leader Larry McDonough's fine Fender Rhodes lines bring into stark relief the song's many contours. McDonough keeps with the spirit of the original as well, by accentuating the energy gained by the many start-&-stop passages that amp things up as the composition winds its way toward a conclusion. Jazz or rock? Sorry, but that question misses the point. Have another beer.
Reviewer: Mark Saleski