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Monday, July 25, 2016

'The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story' DVD: Music Producer is True Turkish Delight

  • The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story
The Film Movement July 26, 2016 DVD release of the Grammy-nominated documentary "The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story" is the latest in an ongoing series of Movement releases of non-fiction films about notable modern artists.

"Mardin" is most closely related to the (Unreal TV reviewed) documentary "Imber's Left Hand." The scope of these films respectively deal with the effort of record producer Mardin to record a late-in-life album and for painter Jon Imber to be as active as possible before his ALS renders him completely inert. Further, each movie shows how the peers of the subject greatly love and respect him.

The comprehensive biographical scope of "Mardin" includes an extensive discussion of his childhood as the son of a very prominent Turkish family, his coming to America to study at the Berklee College of Music, his charmingly unique courtship with his wife, and his influence on his son.

The seemingly literal cast of 1,000s of current and future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members handle the roughly 85-percent of the film that discusses the career of this man who is known for collaborating with musicians while also giving them the freedom to do what they best know how to do. This tribute begins with footage of the '60s rock group The Rascals performing the hit "People Got to be Free" that Mardin produces. The legions of rockers who contribute modern interviews to "Mardin" includes an original Rascal.

We additionally hear from the horses' mouths how Mardin changes the music style of the BeeGees, creates the "Chaka Khan Chaka Khan" lyric, makes stars out of Hall & Oates, forms close professional collaborations with Starbucks faves Jewel and Norah  Jones, etc.

We additionally hear from the Divine Miss M herself both in the form of reminiscing about her collaborations with Mardin and in performing the song that gives the documentary its name. This performance is as much a love letter to Mardin as is Midler singing to Johnny Carson during his final night as the host of "The Tonight Show."

Aretha Franklin earns the award for most entertaining contributor; she is quite lively and clearly has exceptionally tremendous respect for Mardin; the documentarians save the best of her for last regarding a segment featuring her that appears during the closing credits.

Like "Imber's," a love fest near the end of "Mardin" provides an awesome climax. In this case, it is "We Are the World" style star-studded recording session of "All My Friends Are Here." The most notable difference between this and "World" is that there is no need to remind the singers to check their egos at the door regarding this genuine labor of love.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Mardin" is strongly encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.