Arif Mardin, one of the seminal recording producers of the past 40 years, must have lost count of the times his collaborators were brought up short by the recognition that he was also a brilliant musician. All My Friends Are Here is one of the most atmospheric, challenging and powerful projects of Mardin's storied career. A project that had been gestating for years, it was begun in earnest as a response to the pancreatic cancer that claimed Mardin's life in 2006, and was completed after his death with the invaluable assistance of his son Joe. As such, this collection of what Mardin also described as "weird songs and interesting lyrics" is a testament to both his own genius and that of many of the artists with whom he collaborated, fueled by his encyclopedic musical knowledge and his love of film noir. Beyond the joys of the individual tracks, the album confirms Mardin's brilliance at portraiture.
Some of the songs were written over the course of Mardin's career, with "Longing for You" dating back to his days in Turkey. Both music and lyrics originated in 1955 (with Michael Margulies collaborating on the latter), when the Istanbul Radio Orchestra recorded the piece. Here, Mardin wrote an arrangement for jazz quintet, with a fitting allusion to the Gillespie/Parker/Sarah Vaughan version of "Lover Man" at the outset. Norah Jones, a relatively recent Mardin collaborator, calls this "the hardest song I ever sang," yet she and the band capture the unrequited desire of the lyric perfectly. Jon Faddis' muted trumpet and Joe Lovano's tenor saxophone split a chorus, then pianist Lee Musiker takes four bars at the bridge before Jones returns.
As the album neared completion, Mardin decided to create a vehicle for many of the other artists he had worked with over the years. So he wrote one final song, "All My Friends Are Here," and brought together members of the Average White Band, The Rascals, the Bee Gees, Hall & Oates, Boy Meets Girl, Phil Collins, David "Fathead" Newman and Donny Hathaway's daughter Lalah Hathaway for a celebratory jam with echoes of the Meters and Stevie Wonder in Robbie Kondor's clavinet. Mardin himself was planning to provide what his score called the "Sly bass voice," but his illness forced him to cede the part to his son. Barry Gibb would eventually add the falsetto line, "I'm gonna sing the top," as specified by the composer.
That leaves the affectionate and hilarious opening track, the only non-Mardin composition in the collection. Bette Midler insisted on contributing her own song, and together with longtime collaborator Marc Shaiman delivered what can serve as Mardin's resume in song, "The Greatest Ears in Town."
|1.||The Greatest Ears In Town / Bette Midler Feat. Barry Gibb|
|2.||So Blue / Chaka Kahan Feat. David Sanborn|
|3.||No Way Out / Nicki Parrott|
|4.||Goodbye To Rio / Raul Midon|
|5.||No One / Dianne Reeves|
|6.||So Many Nights / Danny O'keefe|
|7.||Calls A Soft Voice / Carly Simon|
|8.||Longing For You / Norah Jones|
|9.||Dual Blues / Amy Kohn|
|10.||Chez Twang's / DR. John|
|11.||Willie's After Hours (Lonestar Blues) / Willi Nelson - Katreese Barnes|
|12.||All My Friends Are Here / Feat. Members Of The Average White Band, The Bee Gees And The Rascals, Phi|
|13.||Wistful / Arif Mardin - Piano|
- Albüm Adı: All My Friends Are Here (Composed And Arranged By Arif Mardin)
- Çeşitli Sanatçılar: Various Artists
- Barkod: 756668193225