Jim Keltner Played Original Recording of Aja

dcrigger

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I believe that album contains tons of parts that multiple players made attempts at - before they found the right take.

And I would assume that most of them got recorded over. This would've been recorded on 2in 24 track - not digital. And I believe it was a number of years before the practice of slaving two 24 track machine together in order to make slave reels for overdubs became popular. So unless they made a rough mix - things like all of the guitar players that recorded Peg before Graydon would've certainly been recorded over - to make way for more attempts.

Now alternate drum tracks would've been done as a basic track with a rhythm section, so wouldn't have been an overdub, and would've gone on a blank piece of tape. But...

2" tape was expensive - and album projects like this could start piling up thousands and thousands of dollars in tape costs. So there would've been real incentive to not just keep all of those unused basic tracks - but simple reuse that tape for other songs - or erase it and sell it.

So again, unless they took the time to preserve a rough mix - which is unlikely, because by the time they know they weren't going to use Keltner's take - they also knew they didn't like it. So why spend money in the studio preserving a rough mix of it?

Unless a rough was made while they were still deciding - in which case... maybe...
 

JDA

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I always thought the 'stick click' was a tribute nod, to Tony Williams. and. I'm sticking with it.
(done in 1963 by Tony on studio "Seven Steps To Heaven'
(listen to those drum breaks)
amen.
 
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bellbrass

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I love Rick's enthusiasm, and I'm right there with him. The first time I heard the song Aja, I was blown away by Steve's drumming, and I still am, every single time. The way he goes into that Samba pattern at the end is nothing short of drumming genius. Sorry to hijack the thread away from the topic of Keltner's take.
 

Matched Gripper

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I believe that album contains tons of parts that multiple players made attempts at - before they found the right take.

And I would assume that most of them got recorded over. This would've been recorded on 2in 24 track - not digital. And I believe it was a number of years before the practice of slaving two 24 track machine together in order to make slave reels for overdubs became popular. So unless they made a rough mix - things like all of the guitar players that recorded Peg before Graydon would've certainly been recorded over - to make way for more attempts.

Now alternate drum tracks would've been done as a basic track with a rhythm section, so wouldn't have been an overdub, and would've gone on a blank piece of tape. But...

2" tape was expensive - and album projects like this could start piling up thousands and thousands of dollars in tape costs. So there would've been real incentive to not just keep all of those unused basic tracks - but simple reuse that tape for other songs - or erase it and sell it.

So again, unless they took the time to preserve a rough mix - which is unlikely, because by the time they know they weren't going to use Keltner's take - they also knew they didn't like it. So why spend money in the studio preserving a rough mix of it?

Unless a rough was made while they were still deciding - in which case... maybe...
You could be right. Too bad! But, Rick Beato seems to say that the Gadd version was taken by mistake after Keltner’s version was recorded. If so, maybe they did like Keltner’s version . . . until Gadd tore it up! There is at least one video documentary that talks about how many entire lineups would record takes until Fagen/Becker were satisfied. It would just be fascinating to hear how Keltner interpreted that song.
 
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Vicey

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I know I've seen a documentary where Becker and Fagan played guitar solos that been recorded for one of the later albums but were never used. I think it was one of the tracks for which they used the Larry Carlton solo--it might have been "Don't Take Me Alive." So alternate studio takes of at least some of the stuff do exist.

Unfortunately, alternate guitar solos are more likely to survive than alternate drum takes, but "Aja" could be an exception.
 

drummertom

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I always thought the 'stick click' was a tribute nod, to Tony Williams. and. I'm sticking with it.
(done in 1963 by Tony on studio "Seven Steps To Heaven'
(listen to those drum breaks)
amen.
During one the Johnny D "From My Drum Room" episodes with Steve, I asked about the stick click and he said it was an accident. Great either way.
 

Matched Gripper

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I always thought the 'stick click' was a tribute nod, to Tony Williams. and. I'm sticking with it.
(done in 1963 by Tony on studio "Seven Steps To Heaven'
(listen to those drum breaks)
amen.
This one at about :15 seconds? Never noticed it before.

 

lawsater

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It would be interesting to know how much of the stuff recorded for AJA still exists SMPTE was around in the early 70s and the consoles in the studios used were all 40 channel plus as far as i know so syncing 24 track machines would not have been a problem, it was not long after that bands like TOTO were syncing 3 24 track studers together.
 

John DeChristopher

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According to Rick Beato. Who knew this? Would love to hear Jim Keltner’s take on this tune. Has anyone heard it?

I knew :) Jim also played on a version of "Peg" but Rick Marotta's take was the one they chose. And of course Keltner's version of "Josie" made it on the record.

Steve Gadd has often attributed his stellar performance on Aja to the band knowing it so well from having played it with other drummers. I forget where it is on this episode, but we do discuss Aja at some point. And yes, Steve does confirm the stick click was an accident.

 


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