56. Wayne Shorter on Steely Dan’s “Aja”
from Aja (1977)
Steely Dan was famous for using both cream-of-the-crop session players and accomplished jazz musicians not known for appearing on pop records. Although the shredding guitar solos of Larry Carlton on “Kid Charlemagne” and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on “My Old School” are indisputably classic, we chose Wayne’s appearance on the title cut from their Aja album. As he did on some of Joni Mitchell’s later albums, Wayne displays his raw and idiosyncratic sound with minimum notes and maximum power, this time with a riveting solo nearly five minutes in.