I recently watched this video: The making of Aja, an album by Steely Dan released in the early 1970s. The movie shows how the bands 2 creative leaders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker going track by track, instrument by instrument, to get the album “beyond perfection”, as one of the studio musicians describes the process about halfway in the video.

Fagen and Becker were ruthless perfectionists, editing down guitar solos of the best players down to a few notes, swapping entire bands overnight, or adding a few high (1970s) synthesizer notes to make a flute sound a bit fuller.

Only when you get to a point that is beyond perfection can you start to improvise to give things that personal edge. And that is exactly the same for presentations: only when you have rehearsed in and out, you can deliver that truly relaxed and spontaneous presentation.

The movie is on Netflix, but to my surprise I also found a lower-quality version free online, the site seems legitimate:

Watch Classic Albums - Steely Dan - Aja in Music  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

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