Mostly Credited As: Arif Mardin
Birth Name: Arif Mardin
Date Of Birth: March 15, 1932 (Age 74)
Country Of Birth: Turkey
Birth Place: Istanbul
Date Of Death: June 25, 2006
Cause Of Death: Pancreatic Cancer (New York City, New York)
Arif Mardin was born into a renowned family that brought up statesmen, diplomats and leaders in the civic, military and business sectors of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. His father was partner in a petroleum gas station chain. His sister, Betül Mardin is the "grande dame of public relations" today. After graduating from Istanbul University in Economics and Commerce, Arif Mardin studied at the London School of Economics. He was influenced by his sister's music records and became a self-professed jazz fanatic, as well as an accomplished orchestrator and arranger. But he never intended to pursue a career in music. However, his fate changed in 1956 after meeting the American jazz musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones in a concert in Istanbul. He became the first recipient of the Quincy Jones Scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston after Quincy Jones was so impressed from Mardin’s compositions that were recorded on a tape and sent to him. In 1958 he and his shortly married wife Latife moved from Istanbul to Boston. After graduating in 1961, he taught at Berklee for one year and went to New York City to try his luck. Arif Mardin was later made a trustee of the school and awarded an honorary doctorate. Mardin began his career at Atlantic Records in 1963 as an assistant to fellow Turk Nesuhi Ertegun, the co-founder of the company and a legendary jazz enthusiast, whom he met at the Newport Jazz Festival. He rose through the ranks quickly, becoming studio manager, label house producer and arranger. In 1969, he became a vice president and later served as senior vice president until 2001. He worked closely on many projects with co-founder Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, two legends who were responsible for establishing the "Atlantic Sound". Arif Mardin retired from Atlantic Records in May 2001 and re-activated his label Manhattan Records. He maintained ties to the Turkish music industry.
He produced countless hits artists including Carly Simon, The Young Rascals, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Patti Labelle, Average White Band, Anita Baker, the Bee Gees, Judy Collins, Phil Collins, Culture Club, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Hall & Oates, Donny Hathaway, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Melissa Manchester, Manhattan Transfer, Modern Jazz Quartet, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Scritti Politti, Queen, Dusty Springfield, David Bowie and Jewel. In his career of more than 40 years, he collected over 40 gold and platinum albums, over 15 Grammy nominations and 12 Grammy Awards. In 1990, Arif Mardin was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. Mardin died at his home in New York on June 25, 2006 following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He will be buried in Turkey. Arif’s widow Latife is a playwright. Their son Joe, also a Berklee graduate, is a producer and arranger while the daughter Julie is an avant-garde artist-photographer.