of Arif MARDIN
One look at Arif Mardin's discography merits his status
among the 20th century's most important producers. From
The Young Rascals' 1965 #1 hit "Good Lovin"
to Bette Midler's 1989 #1 and Record Of The Year, "Wind Beneath
My Wings" to his most recent work with Norah
Jones, which resulted in Grammies for Record Of The
Year and Album Of The Year, Arif Mardin has
transcended genres and contributed to many of contemporary
music's most brilliant works.
the past 40 years, Arif has worked with many of the
most illustrious artists in the history of contemporary
music including: Average White Band, the Bee Gees, Judy
Collins, Phil Collins, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin,
Hall & Oates, Donny Hathaway, Jewel, Chaka Khan,
Melissa Manchester, Bette Midler, Modern Jazz Quartet,
Willie Nelson, John Prine, Carly Simon, Dusty Springfield,
Barbra Streisand and many more.
in 1932 in Istanbul, Turkey, Arif Mardin graduated from
Istanbul University in Economics and studied at the
London School of Economics. Although Arif is a self-professed
jazz fanatic, as well as an accomplished orchestrator/arranger,
he never intended to pursue a career in music. However,
in 1956 meeting jazz great Dizzy Gillespie and young
arranger Quincy Jones proved to be a stroke of fate.
This led to his being the first recipient of the Quincy
Jones Scholarship at the Berklee College of Music
Arif and his wife, Latife left Istanbul for Boston.
After graduating in 1961, he taught at Berklee for one
year and moved to New York to try his luck in the big
city. Arif was eventually made a trustee of the
school and awarded an honorary doctorate.
Mardin began his career at Atlantic Records in 1963
as an assistant to the legendary jazz enthusiast and
founder, Nesuhi Ertegun. He rose through the ranks
quickly, becoming studio manager, label house producer
and arranger. In 1969, he became a Vice President and
subsequently served as Senior Vice President until May
2001. Arif worked closely on many projects with founder
Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, two legends who were
responsible for establishing the "Atlantic Sound".
His collaborations with the Bee Gees led to the smash
hit "Jive Talkin." Arif's chart-toppers also include the
#1 singles "Pick Up The Pieces"by Average
White Band, "Against All Odds"and "Separate
Lives" (a duet with Marilyn Martin) by Phil
Collins, "I Feel For You" by Chaka
Khan. In 1974 Arif composed and arranged the music for
Khalil Gibran's book, The Prophet, recited by
the late Richard Harris.
more than 40-year career, Arif has collected close to
50 gold and platinum albums, over 15 Grammy nominations
and 12 Grammy awards. In 1990, Mardin was inducted into
the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
Hall of Fame. In the same year Arif received the Turkish
American Of The
Year Award from the Assembly of Turkish American
Associations. His speech was entered into the Congressional
In 1992, Arif received the Shofar Of Peace Award from the Sephardic Community of Los Angeles, commemorating
500 years of peace and friendship between the Jewish
and Turkish communities. In 1992 he also produced
the music for Bette Midler's ABC-TV movie, Gypsy.
Arif composed and arranged the music for Her Infinite
Variety: Women Of Shakespeare recited by the world renowned great and late stage actress Irene
Worth, cd released in 1993. In 1996, Arif earned his
sixth Grammy for his production of the Original Broadway Cast Album of Smokey Joe's Café: The Songs of Leiber
and Stoller. The
following year he received a Grammy nomination for the
platinum album, The Original Broadway Cast Recording
of Rent. In December 1997, Arif was one of the recipients of the NARAS
presented by Atlantic Records' Ahmet Ertegun.
Other projects in 1997 included Rodgers and Hammerstein's
Cinderella starring Whitney Houston and Brandy that
aired on ABC television. Productions for Patti Labelle
as well as Barbra Streisand's multi-platinum album Higher
Ground were all in the same year. When asked
about that year, Arif muses, "Barbra, Patti, Carly,
Bette, Whitney made 1997 'My Year Of The Diva'."
In 1998, Arif served as Music Producer
for the soundtrack for the Warner Brothers Motion Picture
"Why Do Fools Fall In Love." Other projects included:
productions for Bette Midler's Bathhouse Betty as well as on Diana Ross' Everyday
Is A New Day, plus the ABC-TV movie Double
Platinum starring Miss Ross and Brandy. Mardin
also produced two tracks on Barbra Streisand's A
Love Like Ours. Arif closed the millennium with
Jewel's Joy: A Holiday Collection, an album of Christmas and inspirational songs.
continued to be a year of honors. The National Academy
of Recording Arts and Sciences bestowed upon Mardin
a Trustees Award--a
special merit lifetime achievement Grammy conferred
on individuals for significant contributions other than
performance. Mardin was named "Man of the Year"
the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Foundation,
a charitable organization that provides music therapy
to autistic and other severely disabled children. He
also received the "Ertegun Impact Award"
as presented by the Boston Music Awards, and delivered
the Keynote Address at the NEMO Conference.
Arif retired from Atlantic Records in May 2001. In September
2001, EMI Recorded Music North America entered into
a unique multi-faceted arrangement with Arif Mardin;
he now occupies the position of Vice-President and General
Manager of the re-instituted Manhattan Records label.
production project there was the very talented young
singer-song writer-pianist Norah Jones' debut multi-platinum
album, Come Away With Me, for Blue Note, EMI. For that achievement
he also received a Grammy for Producer Of The Year, his first Grammy being the same award
for the year 1975. His second project for the Manhattan
label was the very talented stage star, Melissa Errico's
debut album, "Blue Like That," a collection of classic and original
pop songs. For Blue Note, in the same year Arif finished
an album with the great jazz singer, Dianne Reeves.
Arif has been married to Latife who is a writer, for
46 years. Their son Joe is also a producer, arranger
and Berklee graduate. Daughter Julie is an avant-garde
Mardin composed his first opera, I Will Wait, and he is currently writing his memoirs.
Mardin was honored with the Lifting Up the World
with a Oneness-Heart Award, presented by the Peace Meditation
Group at the UN and goodwill advocate Sri Chinmoy. He
also delivered the Keynote Address at the annual Audio
Engineering Society convention.
Mardin has made an indelible mark on the music industry.
As stated by Universal Records' CEO Doug Morris "When
I entered the music business, I hoped to be able to
work alongside people like Arif Mardin; creative, brilliant
pioneers who, aside from their talent, convey an unmistakable
presence. The consummate gentleman, Arif is someone
whose joy for music makes it all worthwhile."
Special Thanks to: Lydia SHERWOOD
on March 22, 3007,
by Arif MARDIN
Posted on August 17, 2004
_ . _
on the Light Millennium:
My Journey in the Music World
- Discography of Arif MARDIN
-Jive Talkin' with Arif MARDIN by Mehmet DEDE
dad's Philosphy on Fatherhood
by Julie MARDIN
An Open Letter: Dear Arif Mardin, by Bircan UNVER