Tag Archives: Barry Gibb

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kennedy Center Honors: Our top 50 recommendations who need to be chosen include Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, Jessica Lange, Bette Midler

Mister D: Ok, I admit that I’m prejudiced, but this list could be whittled down in seconds for me. My standards are high, well in some things, and some of these people don’t really belong on this list. Gold Derby Kennedy Center Honors: Our top 50 recommendations who need to be chosen include Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, Jessica Lange, Bette Midler Chris Beachum April 11, 2018 6:00AM The next recipients for the Kennedy Center Honors will be announced in the late summer, often around Labor Day. The all-star event is held each year in the nation’s capital during the first weekend in December and then airs on CBS as a two-hour special after Christmas. Each year, the selection committee chooses five entertainment veterans from a variety of fields – film, television, popular music, theatre, and the fine arts (dance, opera, classical music). Selected artists are almost always over 50 and generally are 60 and beyond. The first recipients in 1978 were singer Marian Anderson, actor and dancer Fred Astaire, choreographer George Balanchine, composer Richard Rodgers and conductor Arthur Rubinstein. The most recent honorees in 2017 for the 40th anniversary program were dancer Carmen de Lavallade, singer Gloria Estefan, singer LL Cool J, producer and writer Norman Lear and singer Lionel Richie. But there are a number of notable performers missing from the honors roll. Our photo gallery features 50 entertainers who deserve to be selected soon. For our purposes a person must be at least 60 years old to be in our gallery. We are not going to include the retired Doris Day and Gene Hackman as well as the reclusive Woody Allen since attendance at the event is mandatory. Tour through our photos and sound off in the forums about who you think should be selected soon. 1. Dick Van Dyke Van Dyke is just an Oscar away from EGOT status. He is a five-time Emmy Award winner for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Van Dyke and Company,” and “The Wrong Way Kid.” He won a Tony Award for “Bye Bye Birdie” (1961) and a Grammy Award for “Mary Poppins” (1964). Van Dyke is a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame and received the Screen Actors Guild life achievement award in 2013. 2. Liza Minnelli Minnelli is very close to EGOT, having never won a Grammy Award before. She won a Tony Award for “Flora the Red Menace” (1965), an Oscar for “Cabaret” (1973), and an Emmy for “Liza with a Z” (1973). The daughter of legendary entertainer Judy Garland, other films have included “The Sterile Cuckoo” (1969, her first Oscar nomination), “New York, New York” (1977), and “Arthur” (1981). 3. Denzel Washington Washington is the only African-American with two Academy Awards for acting (“Glory,” 1989; “Training Day,” 2001). His other Oscar nominations were for “Cry Freedom” (1987), “Malcolm X” (1992), “The Hurricane” (1999), “Flight” (2012), “Fences” (2016, producing and acting), and “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” (2017). He also won a Tony Award for the same role in “Fences” (2010). 4. Gladys Knight The “Empress of Soul” started her career in 1952 on Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour” TV show. Her group Gladys Knight and the Pips joined Motown in 1966 and became one of the top recording artists of the 1960s and 1970s with such hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “If I Were Your Woman,” “Neither One of Us,” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The six-time Grammy winner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. 5. Mick Jagger Whether he gets selected by himself (like Paul McCartney) or with his group The Rolling Stones (like The Who and Led Zeppelin), this honor is long overdue. The lead singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with his band in 1989. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003. Their lengthy list of hit singles has included “Satisfaction,” “Get Off My Cloud,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Brown Sugar,” “Wild Horses,” “Angie,” and “Start Me Up.” 6. Jessica Lange Lange is just one notch away from EGOT. She is a two-time Academy Award winner (“Tootsie,” 1982; “Blue Sky,” 1994) among her six nominations. She is a three-time Emmy champ (“Grey Gardens,” 2009; “American Horror Story,” 2012; and “American Horror Story: Coven,” 2014). Lange won a Tony Award in 2016 for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Other films in her career have included “Frances,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “Cape Fear,” and “Big Fish.” 7. Alan Alda Alda has established himself as a triple threat on television, on stage, and in films. He won five Emmy Awards for the legendary comedy series “M*A*S*H” spread out over acting, directing, and writing (the only person to prevail in only three fields). He also took home a sixth Emmy for his role on “The West Wing” and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1994. He’s been nominated at the Oscars (“The Aviator,”), Grammys (“Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself,” 2008), and three times at the Tony Awards (“The Apple Tree,” 1967; “Jake’s Women,” 1992; “Glengarry Glen Ross,” 2005). 8. Bette Midler Midler was a big hit right out of the gates when she won Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards in 1974. It was the first of three Grammys along with three Emmys for her variety specials and a Tony Award in 2017 for “Hello, Dolly.” That just puts her an Oscar away from EGOT, and she has competed at those awards twice as a leading actress for “The Rose” and “For the Boys.” 9. Harrison Ford Ford is the biggest box office star in American history but still hasn’t had much of an awards career but did receive an Oscar nomination for “Witness” (1985). He was awarded the American Film Institute life achievement in 2000 and the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in 2002. His film career has included “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Working Girl,” “Regarding Henry,” “Patriot Games,” “The Fugitive,” “Air Force One,” and “42.” 10. Reba McEntire McEntire is a Country Music Hall of Fame member who has been one of the most popular singers and performers in the 1980s and beyond. She has had the most CMA Award nominations (49) and ACM Awards nominations (45) of any female artist. She has won two Grammy Awards for “Whoever’s in New England” (1987) and “Does He Love You?” (1994) among her 12 career nominations. McEntire has had a successful TV show with “Reba” (2001-2007) and was widely acclaimed for her Broadway debut in “Annie Get Your Gun” (2001). 11. Tommy Tune Tune has been one of the top choreographers and dancers in Broadway history. He is a nine-time Tony Award winner for his performances in “Seesaw” and “My One and Only,” for his direction of “Nine,” “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies” and choreography of “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine,” “My One and Only,” “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies.” 12. Betty White White is one of the favorite comedic performers in TV history and was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1995. She has won five prime-time Emmy Awards for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls,” “The John Larroquette Show” and “Saturday Night Live” plus a Daytime Emmy for “Just Men.” 13. Burt Bacharach Bacharach has composed hundreds of songs in his lengthy career, many of them popular hits. He is a three-time Oscar winner for his original song and score in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and original song in “Arthur.” He is a two-time Grammy champ for “Cassidy” and “I Still Have That Other Girl” plus an Emmy winner for his 1971 variety special. 14. Diane Keaton Keaton is an Oscar-winning actress (“Annie Hall,” 1977) who has been primarily working in films since the early 1970s. Her career has included “The Godfather,” “Reds,” “Marvin’s Room,” “Baby Boom,” “Father of the Bride,” “The First Wives Club” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” She was the 2017 recipient of the American Film Institute life achievement award. 15. Arturo Sandoval The Cuban-born Sandoval is one of the greatest trumpet players in music history. He defected to America in 1990 while performing with previous KCH recipient Dizzy Gillespie. He is a 10-time Grammy winner, Emmy winner and recipient of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom. 16. Cynthia Gregory Gregory is one of the most famous American prima ballerinas of recent decades. She first became well known in San Francisco as a teenager before joining the American Ballet Theatre in 1965. She has had roles in “Giselle,”” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppelia,” “Don Quixote,” “The Eternal Idol” and “At Midnight.” 17. Bob Newhart Newhart has proven to be one of the most beloved comedians in American history since the early 1960s. In fact he won at the 1961 Grammy Awards as Best New Artist and for Album of the Year. He was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1993 for his roles on “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Newhart.” He won his only Emmy Award in 2013 for a guest role on “The Big Bang Theory.” He was the 2002 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. 18. Whoopi Goldberg Goldberg is one of the few people who have achieved EGOT in her entertainment career. She won an Oscar for “Ghost,” a Grammy for her comedy album “Direct From Broadway,” a Tony Award for producing “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and a Daytime Emmy for hosting “The View.” Other film roles have included “The Color Purple,” “Sister Act” and “The Lion King.” She was the 2001 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center.

19. Jerry Lee Lewis ...  Read More

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Friday, December 8, 2017

The Greatest Ears In Town (Bette Midler and Marc Shaiman)

Here’s a song many may not know about. It was written by Bette Midler, Barry Gibb (from the Bee Gees, and Marc Shaiman (Bette’s long time piano accompanist and co-writer, and dear friend. It was written as a tribute to Arif Mardin, the producer, who was very instrumental in her recording career. He died shortly after the release of the album in 2006. It was called “All My Friends Are Here.” A documentary was released, as well, entitled “The Greatest Ears In Town. You should check out both. Don

The Greatest Ears In Town (Bette Midler and Marc Shaiman)

I knew a Turkish gentlemen from far across the sea He loved the blues He loved the brass He loved a melody

He left his home a catacomb Not far from Istanbool And landed in the state of jazz That’s where he went to school

They dropped him off in Harlem He quickly learned what swings He’d boogie and he’d be bop And he heard some crazy things

And in his dreams harmonics streamed And trumpets hit high “c” He grabbed a pen and said “amen” The rest is history ...  Read More

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Bette Midler and Nona Hendryx (Labelle) First met in a gay bathhouse

New York Post Bette Midler and Nona Hendryx first met in a gay bathhouse By Hardeep Phull September 18, 2017 2017-09-21_6-42-02 Most music fans know Nona Hendryx as a member of Labelle, the trio of divas who scored a No. 1 hit in 1974 with “Lady Marmalade.” But the 72-year-old soul sister has worked with everyone from Keith Richards to the Talking Heads over her illustrious career. For her latest project, she’s working with guitarist Gary Lucas to reinterpret the complex but brilliant experimental rock of Captain Beefheart (they play Joe’s Pub on Wednesday). Here, the long-time Upper West Side resident tells Hardeep Phull about her New York weekends. I make sure I do my workouts on the weekend. I’m one of those people who actually enjoys it. I move a lot on stage, so aerobic exercises like the treadmill and the stair climber are important to be able to sing and dance at the same time. But then, I usually undo what I did by having a coffee and a pain aux raisins at Maison Kayser. I know where all of its locations are — it’s my kitchen away from home! Modal Trigger Nona Hendryx and Gary Lucas.Michel Delsol I like to get all over Manhattan and see people performing in various venues. I saw my old friend Bette Midler recently in “Hello, Dolly,” and she was wonderful. We first met at the Continental Baths (formerly in the Ansonia Hotel). It was a gay bathhouse that would have artists come and play there while guys watched wrapped in their towels — or not! I think that’s where she developed the moniker “The Divine Miss M.” I live right across the street from the Beacon Theatre. It was great when Labelle used to play there because I could walk from my apartment right onto the stage! In the 1980s, I, Yoko Ono and many other Upper West Side artists helped with the campaign to Save the Beacon because they wanted to turn it into a parking lot or something. Sometimes I go up to Sugar Bar because Valerie Simpson (of Ashford & Simpson) is an old friend. That’s a great spot if you want to hear good music. Sometimes you’ll hear Valerie doing background vocals for people and playing piano. I also like to walk by Strawberry Fields and hear the people singing John Lennon and Beatles songs. I knew John from London (where Labelle was based in the early 1970s). I’d bump into him getting international magazines and papers at the newspaper store on Broadway between 71st and 72nd. The store owners put his picture up, to show that he was a patron. When he was alive, John’s picture was up in a lot of places on the Upper West Side!
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

BetteBack January 14, 1981: “The Rose” Receives Grammy Nods

Twin Falls Times News January 14, 1981 M8DDIMA EC009 -•NEW YORK (UPI) – Singer composer Christopher Cross, the recording industry’s most rapidly rising star, put a virtual hammerlock on the 23rd annual Grammy Award sweepstakes Tuesday, racking up seven nominations to head a pack of 305 entries. Veterans Barbra Streisand, who teamed with Barry Gibb for her latest output, and Frank Sinatra also were frontrunners in the competition, finals of which will be telecast live from Radio City Music Hall Feb. 25 by CBS. The ceremony will mark the first time since 1975 that Grammy Awards, which are to the recording industry what Oscars are to Hollywood, have been handed out in New York by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. Cross parlayed his song “Sailing” into nominations for record of the year, album of the year and song of the year. He also is up for the laurel as best new artist and producer of best pop vocal by, ‘a male. He was nominated for two more awards in the crafts division, which hands out little brass gramophones for everything from arrangements and engineering to best album notes. Miss Streisand is on tap for six awards, including some in the crafts department. Her “Woman in Love” is a nominee for record of the year and best pop vocal by a female artist and her album “Guilty” was named for album of the year and best pop song by a group or duo. Both were done with ex-Bee Gee Gibb. Sinatra got the “Trilogy: Past, album-of-the-year nod for his Present and Future” and record of the year and best pop vocal performance by a male artist with his “Theme from New York, New York.” In all, with other nominations in the crafts division, he is up for six awards. Bette Midler and Kenny Rogers racked up four nominations each. The academy presents Grammys in 59 categories, covering both musical recordings and dramatic readings, and, repeating their spectacular success at the box office, the producers of “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” collected six nominations for themes and readings released as records. In the classical music field, violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman received five and four nominations, respectively. The academy called upon Melba Moore, Roberta Flack, Margaret Whiting, Gerry Mulligan, Martin Bookspan and Rick Derringer to announce nominations in top categories at its press conference. Final ballots will be mailed this week to the academy’s voting members who will select winners to be announced next month
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BetteBack: Grammys 1981

Mister D: That year, 1981, at the Grammys, Christopher Cross walked away with every major award – never to be heard of again. Bette won for Best Female Vocalist for “The Rose.” She was also a no show. The Chronicle Telegram This year’s Grammy Awards may play sentimental favorites By JACK LLOYD 2-25-1981 Those who have expressed fears that the 1980’s would be a woefully soft period in the evolution of pop music will find little to change their minds in pondering the nominations for this year’s Grammy awards. In line for the the music industry’s most prestigious awards — bestowed by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences — are many of the most uninspired recordings to come along in some time. (Winners will be announced in the 23rd a n n u al Grammy Awards show tonight at 9 on Channels 8 and 11.) MEMBERS OF the academy who voted on the nominations clearly played it safe, staying for the most part with sentimental favorites and mainstream staples. There are. of course, the inevitable oversights — superb efforts- that were ignored by the academy. How Bob S e g e r ‘s powerful “Against the Wind” LP was shunned in consideration for top album honors is baffling. The omission of Pat Benatar’s name from the best new artist list is perplexing. The names that dominate the various top categories are generally tried and true: Frank Sinatra, BillyJoel. Donna Summer, Kenny Rogers, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand. Olivia Newton-John, Paul Simon. THE ACADEMY’S most daring move was voting newcomer Christopher Cross nominations in five different top categories. But while Cross’ debut album, “Christopher Cross,” was indeed impressive, it was not that impressive. Many fans wili be wondering about other omissions in addition to Seger’s “Against the Wind.” What about Bruce Springsteen’s “The River,” Dire Straits’ “Making Movies” and Donna Summer’s “The Wanderer”? The assumption is that they were released too late in 1980 for consideration and will be eligible for voting next year. What it all boils down to is that guessing winners of the Grammies is more difficult than ever. Considering the drab lot, even coming up with preferences is tough. However, the challenge must be met, so following is a list of the top categories and some predictions: R E C O R D OF THE Y E A R: “Lady.” Kenny Rogers: “The Rose.” Bette Midler, “Sailing” Christopher Cross: “New York. New York.” Frank Sinatra. “Woman In Love.” Barbra Streisand. This one could go to any of the nominees, with Rogers. Midler and Streisand being heavy favorites. But the guess here is that “New York. New York” will be the sentimental winner. A L B U M OF T HE Y E A R: “Christopher Cross,” Christopher Cross; “Glass Houses,” Billy Joel: “Guilty,” Barbra Streisand (with Barry Gibb): “Trilogy, Past Present & Future.” Frank ” Sinatra; “The Wall,” Pink Floyd. “Trilogy” is certainly the winner. SONG OF THE YEAR: “Fame,” “Lady,” “New York, New York.” “The Rose” “Sailing” “Woman In Love.” Up against this competition, once again “New York, New York” is the best of the bunch. BEST NEW ARTIST: Christopher Cross. Irene Cara, Robbie Dupree. Amy Holland, Pretenders. While there is much to recommend the Pretenders — one of the few new wave-influenced rock acts to make a major dent during the-past year — there is little doubt that the award will go to Cross. And considering the quality of his album and long-range potential of his talent, he probably deserves it. BEST POP FEMALE VOCAL PERFORMANCE: “Fame,” Irene Cara; “Magic,” Olivia Newton-John; “On the Radio,” Donna Summer; “The Rose,” Bette Midler, “Woman In Love,” Barbra Streisand. With the pop music community so much a part of the Hollywood scene these days, “Fame,” “Magic” and “The Rose” — all from f i lm soundtracks — should be sentimental favorites. The feeling here is that Bette Midler will take the award, although the personal choice is Donna Summer, who has become pop music’s most distinguished female performer. BEST POP MALE VOCAL PERFORMANCE: “Chistopher Cross,” Christopher Cross: “Lady.” Kenny Pagers; “Late in the Evening.” Paul Simon: “New York. New York.” Frank Sinatra; “This Is It.” Kenny Loggins. Well. OK, let’s make it unanimous for Ol Blue Eyes. Paul Simon will be a big favorite, since he’s been absent from the pop scene for a few years and his film, “One-Trick Pony”, deserved a better fate. And Christopher Cross could walk off with everything. But Sinatra’s performance on “New York, New York had far more flair than any of the others in this category. BEST POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP: ‘Against tne wind.’ Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band; “Biggest Part of Me.” Ambrosia; “Don’t Fall In Love With a Dreamer,” Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes; “Guilty,” Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb; “He’s So Shy,” Pointer Sisters. Seger has no business in this category, and so we must assume that his nomination is a token gesture to acknowledge an effort that was otherwise ignored. On the basis of this, Seger is the personal favorite here. But realistically, the award probably should go to the Pointer Sisters and probably will go to Rogers and Carnes, since Rogers’ name remains golden in mainstream circles. There are additional categories, naturally. And one hopes the Grammies handed out in such specialized areas as rock, country, R&B and jazz will compensate for the omissions in what are generally considered to be the top Grammy categories.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hollywood Reporter: Joe Mardin Talks About the Grammy-Nominated Doc ‘Greatest Ears In Town’

The Hollywood Reporter Arif Mardin’s Son Talks About the Grammy-Nominated Doc ‘Greatest Ears In Town’ 2:06 PM 12/3/2010 by Shirley Halperin With the 2006 passing of Arif Mardin came the end of an era — gone were the days of the in-house producer (Mardin relished in that title, one of several he held during his three decades at Atlantic Records, then at Blue Note-Manhattan in the last years of his life), the analog recording process, and, some might argue, the craft of a true vocal performance. Indeed, when it came to singers, Arif Mardin, who produced award-winning albums for the likes of the Bee Gees, Bette Midler, Carly Simon, and Norah Jones, was known to have the Greatest Ears in Town, an apt title for the Grammy-nominated documentary chronicling the final months of his life, when he undertook one of the most ambitious projects of his 50-year career, All My Friends Are Here, his first “solo album” since 1974’s Journey. Of course, Mardin was rarely alone, not in the studio and certainly not in life, where, before he succumbed to pancreatic cancer, he was married for nearly 50 years and had two children, including son Joe, his “right hand” on the ambitious undertaking. Gathering music luminaries like George Martin, Midler, Barry Gibb and Carly Simon was no small feat, but given the chance to shower praise on the man who helped define the sounds of the ’60s (The Rascals’ “Good Lovin’”), the ’70s (Simon’s “You Belong To Me”), the ’80s (Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You”), the ’90s (Jewel) and beyond (Jones), dozens of artists representing every genre showed to pay respect by performing 13 of Mardin’s original tunes. The resulting documentary, which was screened for Grammy members over the summer and fall and may roll out a limited theatrical release in the coming months, is nothing short of extraordinary. Filming started three months before Mardin’s eventual death and didn’t wrap until well over three years after his passing. Now competing for the best long form video Grammy against a diverse group of artists including The White Stripes and The Doors, it’s a film and a man whose time has come. The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Arif Mardin’s son Joe Mardin, who co-produced Friends and shepherded the documentary, which will be released on DVD next year, to completion. THR: It seemed your father was in good spirits during filming, but it must have been so difficult to work on the album while he was undergoing such intense cancer treatment. Mardin: It was tough. He was diagnosed in early 2005, and for the first few months, he wasn’t really working , he was just going through the chemo. Then toward the end of that year, we recorded the first track, “So Blue,” which Chaka ended up singing. So we didn’t start immediately, but once we did, he was almost always there. This was his third solo record, not a tribute. We didn’t start shooting until March 2006, that was three months before he passed away. You can see in the studio he’s having a great time. He doesn’t look healthy, but he’s animated. He loved being in the studio, I think it’s what kept him going for so long. THR: In the film, you’re at his side for all of the recording sessions … Mardin: It was an honor to be his right hand, and there was a bit of a passing of the torch because the album was about 85% finished when he passed away, so I had this very heavy task of completing it, but the blueprints were there and we’d had a lot of discussions where I knew what he wanted. I just had the honor with a heavy heart, because it struck me as so unfair that he didn’t get to finish this project. THR: People often associate your father with jazz music, but he made an impact on the pop and rock worlds, too. Mardin: He used to say, “I got bitten by the pop bug with the Rascals.” I think in the ’50s, he was a real modernist. When he got to Atlantic and started to see how pop records are made, he brought grand horizons to the Rascals in his abilities to deal with orchestration. With his classical and jazz background, it made him a unique figure in pop music, because outside of Quincy Jones and George Martin, few were really the conservatory type with love of serious jazz music. “My father would just say, ‘I love this woman’s voice, she plays fabulous piano, let’s see what happens.’ It was like any other project.” —Joe Mardin on Norah Jones’ breakout album THR: As recording evolved over the years and became more digital, did he welcome new technology or fight it? Mardin: He always embraced new technology, whether it was in the early ’70s with the Bee Gees when they were using the first drum machines and synthesizers, like on “Jive Talking,” through the early days of sampling, like in Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You.” And ProTools in the end; he was using it as a creative tool, not allowing it to dictate how you make records, but using it to come up with new ideas. THR: One of the fascinating aspects to your father’s story and the music business in general, is the Turkish connection. Your family has roots in Turkey, as did the Ertegun brothers, did they know each other from the Istanbul music scene? Mardin: There wasn’t that much of an Ertegun connection. Nesuhi Ertegun hired my father to work at Atlantic, but they had met at the Newport Jazz Festival and he came across my father’s music at the Lennox School of Jazz. He didn’t know Ahmet and Nesuhi before coming to America, so I don’t think it had much of a anything to do with being Turkish, but it was really very fortunate that Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones were on this State Department-sponsored tour through the Middle East, Israel and Turkey in the ’50s because that’s how it all came about. The circumstances were extraordinary. THR: Late in Arif’s career, he had one of his biggest successes with Norah Jones, who won eight Grammys in 2003 for Come Away With Me. As he was making that album, did he have any idea it would be the runaway success that it was? Mardin: Nobody expected that it was going to be the blockbuster that it was, but I certainly remember listening to it and saying to my father, “This record will be successful.” It was clear that it would be the kind of record you’d hear in peoples’ homes, boutiques, and restaurants … you just knew that this fabulous voice was going to permeate the culture in a certain way. My father would just say, “I love this woman’s voice, she plays fabulous piano, let’s see what happens.” It was like any other project. THR: After Arif died, did you take a break from the album? Mardin: We had a session scheduled with Daryl Hall the day after my dad died, and I remember asking my mother, “Should I postpone?” And she said no, he would have wanted you to record and you really should. That kind of set the tone. THR: What comes next for the film? Mardin: We have some distributors who are interested and next year it will definitely be out, at the very least on DVD, but we’re hoping beyond that for a small theatrical run, maybe some television. It’s been a learning curve for me, coming into the film/television/video-on-demand industry. THR: And will you be managing the estate from here on out? Mardin: My mother and I, yes. I always knew I would be the caretaker of his legacy. I’m dealing with the business opportunities that are presenting themselves. We’re going to do a publishing deal for his pieces, we’re still doing some screenings for the film, I’m getting calls about producing. Gradually, I’m trying to finish this chapter of my life with this project and looking forward to the release of the film next year and all the hooplah that will hopefully go with it.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: All My Friends Are Here

Jazz Times Mardin Magic: A Tribute to Producer Arif Mardin Christopher Loudon on All My Friends Are Here, a tribute to the late Arif Mardin Unintentionally of course, Arif Mardin crafted his own eulogy. Naturally, given Mardin’s stature as arguably the most accomplished arranger/producer of the past half-century — the genius responsible for everything from Dusty Springfield’s landmark Dusty In Memphis to Barry Gibb’s career-altering falsetto, the stratospheric launch of the Average White Band and the equally meteoritic blast-off of Norah Jones — it is shaped of music. Mardin aptly referred to what would ultimately become All My Friends Are Here (NuNoise Records) as his “life’s work.” Begun in 2005 and completed by his son and co-producer Joe after Mardin’s death, in June 2006 at age 74 of pancreatic cancer, it is an incomparably rich, atmospheric celebration of all aspects of the 12-time Grammy winner’s vibrant life and career. Indeed, it is not too early to cite All My Friends Are Here as a prime contender for album of the year honors. Mardin wrote or co-wrote all but one of the album’s 13 tracks. Some, like the exquisitely romantic “Longing for You” (written when Mardin was 23 as a ode to his then fiancée Latife) date back decades. Others are brand new. To perform this heady potpourri of songs, father and son assembled more than a dozen of the artists whose careers Mardin launched and molded, including Bette Midler, Norah Jones, Raul Midón, Barry Gibb, Chaka Khan, Danny O’Keefe, the Average White Band, Daryl Hall and Felix Cavaliere. All My Friends Are Here opens with the album’s only non-Mardin composition. Co-written by Bette Midler and Marc Shaiman, “The Greatest Ears In Town” is a rousingly upbeat, biographical number performed by Midler, with a little backing assistance from Barry Gibb. Done in a style best described as ‘Istanbul swing,’ it traces Mardin’s Turkish roots, his arrival in New York in the late 1950s, his lifelong passion for jazz (and martinis, or “mardinis,” as he called the potent concoctions that were his specialty) and his emergence as a hit- and star-making mastermind at Atlantic Records and, briefly, for EMI. The tempo slows for the misty “So Blue,” the first track recorded for the album, featuring Chaka Khan and David Sanborn. Mardin did not live long enough to hear Nicki Parrot record the slyly seductive, Lee Wiley-esque “No Way Out,” accompanying herself on bass, but he did leave detailed instructions for the slinky, noirish arrangement. Though Mardin worked with dozens of artists, he personally signed only one, Raul Midón. The blind vocalists/guitarist’s acclaimed 2005 album, State of Mind, was one of Mardin’s final projects prior to All My Friends Are Here. Here, Midón delivers a haunting reading of Mardin’s shimmering “Goodbye to Rio.” Two years prior to his discovery of Midón, Mardin did a brilliant job of placing Dianne Reeves in gorgeously minimalist acoustic settings for the petal-soft A Little Moonlight. He takes a similarly tender approach with Reeves’ cloudily melancholy “No One.” Mardin’s swirling “So Many Nights,” bordering on madness with its sinister Phantom of the Opera overtones and sly references to David Raksin’s “Laura” and Bernard Hermann’s “Jennie’s Theme,” serves as an inspired showcase for Danny O’Keefe intoxicatingly chafed rasp. “So Many Nights” provides an ideal introduction to All My Friends’ most striking cut, “Calls a Soft Voice.” Also the album’s most deeply personal track, it examines the fogged condition of Mardin’s mother during her final years. Carly Simon’s performance, caught in the restless state between dream and nightmare, is nothing short of magnificent. Norah Jones, in the estimable company of Joe Lovano and Jon Faddis, delivers a finely mellow “Longing for You” that is equal parts wistful pining and wishful fantasizing. Amy Kohn, whom Mardin dubbed “musical devil in a red dress,” lives up to her soubriquet with a brilliantly murky one-woman play set to the tune of “Dual Blues,” complete with femmes fatale and vice cops. Dr. John, whom Mardin befriended in the 1970s, is in exceptional form, growling his way through the angularly atonal “Chez Twang’s,” a dazzling, shake-off-the-funeral-rags salute to New Orleans. Saturday Night Live music director Katreese Barnes leads a loping, sensuous “Lonestar Blues,” featuring Mardin on piano and built around an astounding, down ’n’ dirty Willie Nelson guitar solo. Finally, Hall and Oates, Barry and Robin Gibb, Felix Cavaliere, Phil Collins, Donny Hathaway’s daughter Lalah, Cissy Houston, Randy Brecker and members of the AWB unite for a chanting treatment of the celebratory title tune. But one track remains. It is Mardin, alone at the piano just two months before his demise, making the most graceful and understatedly profound of exits, tiptoeing out to the gentle, somber yet sweet strains of “Wistful.” Joe Mardin has also produced a companion DVD entitled The Greatest Ears In Town. Tracing Mardin’s life from his aristocratic youth in Istanbul to his career-capping success with Norah Jones, it interweaves home movies, vintage performance video and reminiscences from Atlantic Records’ cofounder Ahmet Ertegun, Aretha Franklin, Phil Collins, Bette Midler, Daryl Hall, Carly Simon, Dianne Reeves, Marc Shaiman, Jones and at least a dozen other luminaries with track-by-track footage of the recording of All My Friends Are Here. The documentary has already earned accolades at film festivals around the globe and Joe Mardin is currently seeking a DVD distributor. Here’s hoping he locates one soon. For glorious as the album is — and it truly is the master’s masterpiece — it is that much more magical when paired with the film. Enhanced by Zemanta
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

All My Friends Are Here

Reuters Music stars pay tribute to producer‘s love of jazz Evie Nagy Fri May 14, 2010 10:04pm EDT NEW YORK (Billboard) – Arif Mardin may not be a household name, but he worked with more than a few familiar faces who are. In his 40-plus years with Atlantic and Manhattan Records, before his death in June 2006, the Turkish-born producer/arranger was responsible for hits from stars including Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Hall & Oates, Norah Jones and Willie Nelson. He also won 12 Grammy Awards and is credited with encouraging Barry Gibb to use the falsetto that would propel the Bee Gees’ sound in the disco era. But his first musical love was jazz composition, a pursuit that he put on hold in 1966 after he co-produced his first No. 1 pop hit, the Young Rascals’ “Good Lovin’.” Now, four years after his death, Mardin’s jazz work will be celebrated with “All My Friends Are Here,” a collection of his compositions recorded with many of the pop stars whose careers he elevated. The set, due June 15 from his son Joe Mardin‘s NuNoise label, will have a companion documentary, “The Greatest Ears in Town,” co-directed by Mardin and Doug Biro. It was filmed during recording sessions for the album and includes interviews with such artists and colleagues as Franklin, Quincy Jones and late Atlantic co-founder Ahmet Ertegun. “When my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2005, he started reviewing compositions from the past, some which had lyrics, some which didn’t,” recalls Mardin, who worked with his father for many years as a co-producer and helped complete and record the selected pieces. “He always referred to this album as his life’s work.” ‘BLUE’ BEGINNINGS The first song recorded was noir ballad “So Blue,” with lyrics by Roxanne Seeman, featuring Khan on vocals and David Sanborn on alto sax. Other tracks were completed either when Mardin was too sick to work or after his death. He worked on the project until the very end of his life. “I went to visit him one night in June 2006, and he hands me score paper,” Joe Mardin says. “It was the string arrangement to ‘No Way Out.’ And my father died the next day.” Although Mardin wouldn’t live to see the song recorded with singer Nicki Parrott, the detailed instructions he left behind illustrate the forethought in his process. “He wanted some seashore sound effects, a Balinese gamelan interlude, finger snaps and Jerry Dodgion’s flute as an alter ego to the vocal,” Mardin says. Of the album’s 13 tracks, the only one the elder Mardin didn’t pen is opener “The Greatest Ears in Town,” co-written and sung by Midler as a tribute to the producer, who helped her earn a Grammy and a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with “Wind Beneath My Wings.” “It’s this very loving tribute to how my father came here and landed in the world of jazz, and ended up becoming this very successful creator,” Mardin says. The album’s other contributors include Jones, Nelson, Carly Simon and Dr. John. The title track’s all-star roster includes Hall & Oates, Barry and Robin Gibb, and Phil Collins. Mardin will release the companion documentary on DVD and is in talks to bring it to TV. “With the film, we obviously wanted to show his success in popular music,” he says. “But also the family side, the history from Turkey — what an extraordinary kind of American dream my parents lived, my father being the first recipient of the Quincy Jones Scholarship at the Berklee College of Music, and how that led to being hired by (Ahmet’s brother) Nesuhi Ertegun at Atlantic. And what a great father he was — because with all his accomplishments, he was a great dad.” Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
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