Arif Mardin was one of the last great musical architects. The accomplishments of his forty year career read as an evolutionary portrait of American contemporary music. His production, composing, and arranging credits include works from such prolific artists as Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Dusty Springfield, Bee Gees, Bette Midler, Hall & Oates, Roberta Flack, Phil Collins, Jewel, and many others. A twelve time Grammy-Award winner, his most recent decoration came as "Producer of the Year" for the Norah Jones album Come Away with Me (he also co-produced her follow up, Feels Like Home). Mardin was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 15, 1932. He attended Istanbul University and the London School of Economics. After a chance meeting with Dizzy Gillespie in Turkey in 1956, Mardin realized his wish to work in music. He became the first recipient of the Quincy Jones scholarship to the Berklee College of Music and graduated in 1961. He then moved onto Atlantic Records, where he worked alongside the legendary team of producer Jerry Wexler and engineer Tom Dowd. While working his way up from studio manager to in-house arranger, Mardin began what would soon become a long and distinguished run of producing hit records. From the Rascal's "Good Lovin" and the Bee Gees "Jive Talkin" to Phil Collins "Against All Odds" and Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" Mardin's Midas touch was unstoppable. Musical attributes aside, his humanitarian efforts were also highly regarded: He was honored with the Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart Award, presented at the United Nations, and was awarded the "Shofar of Peace" from the Sephardic Community of Los Angeles, commemorating 500 years of peace and friendship between the Jewish and Turkish communities. Arif Mardin will be missed, but his legacy will live forever.
This is a superbly shot and intimate documentary. It draws you into the life of Mr. Mardin, and what a life that was! I had the honor and privilege of working for him - and I can say wholeheartedly I was at my very best when I was around him. So, for me, this was hard to watch in a way, but because Joe and Doug did such a GREAT job - it made it a delight, pure and simple.