Renowned record producer worked with legends

Renowned Turkish-American record producer Arif Mardin, who worked with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Queen and David Bowie, has died of pancreatic cancer in New York at the age of 74, his family said in Istanbul on Monday.

Mardin, who started his career in 1963 at Atlantic Records, founded by fellow Turks Nasuhi and Ahmet Ertegun, produced music legends such as Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, the Bee Gees and Phil Collins.

His long list of musicians also included Carly Simon, Patti Labelle, Anita Baker, Culture Club, Roberta Flack, Hall and Oates, Chaka Khan, Manhattan Transfer and Dusty Springfield.

He retired from Atlantic in 2001 to set up his own label at EMI, Manhattan Records, where he developed the talents of Norah Jones.

Mardin produced about 60 golden and platinum albums and won countless awards, 12 of them Grammys—for which he was also nominated 15 times—including those for best producer in 1976 and 2003.

Born in 1932 into an influential Istanbul family, Mardin studied economics at Istanbul University and at the London School of Economics.

Although a self-professed jazz fanatic and an accomplished arranger, he had never planned a musical career until he met jazz musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones at an Istanbul concert in 1956.

Mardin’s compositions so impressed Jones that the young Turk became the first recipient of the Quincy Jones Scholarship at Boston’s Berklee College of Music in 1958.

Mardin and his wife moved to the United States that year and he graduated from Berklee in 1961, where he taught for one year before moving to New York, which had been his home ever since.

He will be buried in his native Istanbul next week, his family said in a statement.—AFP

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