Bette Midler & Arif Mardin: The Greatest Ears In Town (Documentary): The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story is a 2010 documentary about the Grammy winning music producer Arif Mardin. The documentary was produced by his son Joe Mardin and was directed by Doug BiroIt was made before Arif’s death in 2006 from pancreatic cancer.
The documentary goes behind the scenes in the recording studio with Arif Mardin. It shows him working with artists such as Bette Midler, Norah Jones, and Jewel. The documentary also features artists such as Aretha Franklin and producers such as George Martin reflecting on his life and career. It also explores his personality and humorous nature.
The documentary was released on June 15, 2010. Upon its release, it was screened at several chapters of the Recording Academy. It was first screened in New York City on its release. After its premiere screening, a discussion about Arif Mardin followed. It was hosted by the Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing. Joe Mardin moderated the discussion, and panelists included Phil Ramone, Russ Titelman, Doug Biro, Jimmy Douglass, Michael O’Reilly, and Frank Filipetti. It later premiered at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which featured a panel discussion with Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan. It also premiered in Miami, which featured a panel discussion with Barry Gibb.
Randy Lewis of the LA Times wrote: “Mardin “was more responsible than he has ever been given credit for many of the successes that we’ve had,” Ertegun himself says in The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story, an illuminating documentary filled with as much humor as pathos that received its first L.A. screening Monday night at the Grammy Museum as part of the facility’s “Reel to Reel” film series.”
Howard Dukes of Soultracks wrote: “By pursuing his American Dream, Mardin made the dreams come true for scores of great artists by creating music that became part of our musical soundtrack. This loving documentary reminds us not only of the scope of Mardin’s accomplishments but also of the indelible mark he has left on the lives of music lovers of the past half-century. It is a fitting tribute to a musical giant.”
Wesley Britton of blogcritics.org wrote: “The Greatest Ears in Town should certainly appeal to any participant in the music business whether as a recording artist, producer, or composer. Further, anyone interested in the history of modern popular music, from jazz to pop to R&B to rock, should be aware of the work of Arif Mardin, as he personified many of the changing trends from the mid-’60s until the early years of the 21st century. If you want the insider’s perspective, well, actually many insider perspectives, The Greatest Ears in Town is as enjoyable a music lesson as anyone can expect.”