July 3, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 71: Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion


 Arif Mardin ~  
Glass Onion

In addition to my vinyl LP record collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes as well. This is an entry about one of them that is for sale on eBay (see link below). Interested? Contact me by email, please, not by a comment.

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Glass Onion, 1970, was the first of only two solo albums by Mardin. His other album was Journey, 1975, in which he was the composer and arranger, but he also played electric piano and percussion, and was accompanied by many stars of jazz (Randy and Michael Brecker, Joe Farrell, Gary Burton, Ron Carter, Steve Gadd, Billy Cobham and many others). Mardin composed, arranged, conducted and produced The Prophet, an interpretation of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, in 1974, featuring Richard Harris.

Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion reel-to-reel tape
Cover illustration & design: Stanislaw Zagorski
photo by Styrous®

Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion reel-to-reel tape detail
Cover illustration & design: Stanislaw Zagorski
detail photo by Styrous®

Arif Mardin, born on March 15, 1932, in Istanbul, was a Turkish-American music producer, who worked with hundreds of artists across many different styles of music, including jazz, rock, soul, disco, and country. He worked at Atlantic Records for over 30 years, as both an assistant, producer, arranger, studio manager, and vice president, before moving to EMI and serving as vice president and general manager of Manhattan Records. His collaborations include working with Queen, The Bee Gees, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Bette Midler, Laura Branigan, Chaka Khan, Scritti Politti, Phil Collins, Daniel Rodriguez, Norah Jones, Richard Marx, Culture Club and Howard Jones. Mardin was awarded 11 Grammy Awards.

Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion 
reel-to-reel tape box back
photo by Styrous®

Mardin began his career at Atlantic Records in 1963 as an assistant to Nesuhi Ertegün. A fellow Turkish émigré, Nesuhi was the brother of Ahmet Ertegün, Atlantic's co-founder and a jazz enthusiast when they met at the Newport Jazz Festival. Mardin rose through the ranks quickly, becoming studio manager, label house producer and arranger. In 1969, he became the Vice President and later served as Senior Vice President until 2001. He worked closely on many projects with co-founders Ertegün and Jerry Wexler, as well as noted recording engineer Tom Dowd; the three legends (Dowd, Mardin, and Wexler) 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.

Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion 
reel-to-reel tape back detail
detail photo by Styrous®

When Mardin was producing the Bee Gees' 1975 Main Course album track, Nights on Broadway, he discovered the distinctive falsetto of Barry Gibb, which became a familiar trademark of the band throughout the disco era.

Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion 
reel-to-reel tape back detail
detail photo by Styrous®
the music
With the exception of Midnight Walk, all the songs are instrumental covers of music by other artists. Walk is a bluesy, slow tune with lots of brass, (trumpets, saxes, etc.) backing his piano. There's a nice harmonica at one point. Jazz drummer Elvin Jones covered this song in 1966; it was released on the Atlantic label.

Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion 
reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®

Mardin's cover of  Sympathy for the Devil, by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, is a very strange version of the song. It also is an instrumental but it almost doesn't even sound like the same tune. You can hear it on Spotify (link below).

Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion 
reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Track List:

Side 1:

1 - How Can I Be Sure - Written by Eddie Brigati, Felix Cavaliere - 3:35
2 - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay - Written by Otis Redding, Steve Cropper - 3:20
3 - Listen Here - Written by Eddie Harris - 3:10
4 - Mary Ann - Written by Ray Charles - 2:06
5 - Ain't No Way - Written by Carolyn Franklin - 3:08
6 - Midnight Walk - Written by Arif Mardin - 4:28

Side 2:

1 - Glass Onion - Written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney - 2:42
2 - Proud Mary - Written by John Fogerty - 3:32
3 - Sympathy For The Devil - Written by Keith Richards, Mick Jagger - 3:56
4 - Walk On By - Written by Burt Bacharach, Hal David - 3:19
5 - Strange Brew - Written by Eric Clapton, Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins - 4:18

    Arranged By – Arif Mardin
    Drums – Roger Hawkins
    Electric Bass – David Hood
    Electric Piano – Barry Beckett
    Harmonica – Eddie Hinton
    Lead Guitar – Eddie Hinton
    Organ – Barry Beckett
    Percussion – Roger Hawkins
    Piano – Barry Beckett
    Rhythm Guitar – Jimmy Johnson (4)

Arif Mardin, Glass Onion, 3¾ ips reel-to-reel tape
Atlantic - X 9333
Released 1969

Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay on YouTube
Midnight Walk on YouTube
Strange Brew on YouTube 
Sympathy for the Devil on Spotify

Arif Mardin ~ Glass Onion reel-to-reel tape is for sale on eBay 

reel-to-reel tapes on eBay

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