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Last Updated: Monday, 26 June 2006, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Music producer Mardin dies at 74
Arif Mardin (r) with Dizzy Gillespie
Mardin (r) was an accomplished jazz orchestrater and arranger
Music producer Arif Mardin, who worked with such artists as Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Diana Ross and the Bee Gees, has died at the age of 74.

According to his longtime friend and colleague Ian Ralfini, he died at New York home from pancreatic cancer.

Mardin built his reputation at Atlantic Records, where he worked as a producer and arranger from 1963 to 2001.

Afterwards he set up his own label at EMI, Manhattan Records, where his signings included Norah Jones.

Born in 1932 in Turkey, Mardin studied economics at Istanbul University and the London School of Economics.

But his career path changed when he met jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones in 1956.

'Unique gentleman'

Impressed by the young Mardin's jazz compositions, Jones made him the first recipient of the Quincy Jones Scholarship at Boston's Berklee College of Music.

Norah Jones
He recently worked with Grammy winner Norah Jones
Moving to New York, he joined Atlantic as assistant to Nesuhi Ertegun, the company's co-founder.

In a career lasting more than four decades, he worked with Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Phil Collins and Chaka Khan.

The holder of more than 40 gold and platinum albums, he was named best producer at the Grammy Awards in 1976 and 2003.

"He was a unique gentleman and an incredible talent and one of the greatest producers in living memory," Mr Ralfini told the BBC News website.

"I feel privileged to have known him."

Mardin will be buried in his native Istanbul next week.

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