Various Artists, â€œAll My Friends Are Hereâ€ (NuNoise). 2 Â½ stars.
Itâ€™s tough to argue with the sentiment behind this posthumous tribute to the legendary late producer Arif Mardin, though the music ranges from incredibly tasty to incredibly trite.
Completed after Mardinâ€™s death in 2006, it celebrates the Istanbul-nativeâ€™s lasting legacy on the international music scene, with a collection of songs he composed and co-produced with his son Joe Mardin, all performed by an all-star cast.
The exception is the amusing, swinginâ€™ opening cut, â€œThe Greatest Ears in Town,â€ which is sung and co-written by Bette Midler.
Many of Mardinâ€™s other admirers can also be heard, including Diana Reevesâ€™ rather disappointing â€œNo One;â€ the very tasty â€œGoodbye to Rio,â€ by Raul Midon; the lackluster drag of Amy Kohnâ€™s â€œDual Blues;â€ and the borderline discordant â€œChez Twangâ€™s,â€ featuring Dr. John in a song Mardin wrote while still a student at the Berklee School of Music.
Tracks to download: â€œThe Greatest Ears in Townâ€ â€œGoodbye to Rio.â€