Saturday, 3 December 2016

Extraordinary Strings and Horns Arrangers Pt.1

Paul Riser
Paul riser is one of the most prolific classically-trained string and horn arrangers to emerge in America. Originally from the city of Detroit, he became a significant mastermind of and contributor to Motown Records definitive signature sound, known as “The Sound of Young America”.

Among Riser's biggest hits as an arranger are "My Girl" (The Temptations),
"Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" (The Temptations), for which he won a Grammy
Award, both versions of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (Marvin
Gaye and Gladys Knight & The Pips), "My Cherie Amour," (Stevie Wonder),
both versions of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye &Tammy Terrell), "If I Were Your Woman" (Gladys Knight & The Pips) and "Tears of A Clown" (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles). He is also the composer of "What Becomes of The Brokenhearted" (Jimmy Ruffin).

Away from Motown, from the 1970s Riser’s string and horn arrangements have graced recordings for The Carpenters, Carly Simon, Quincy Jones, The Doobie Brothers, Tom Jones, Natalie Cole, Pharoah Sanders, Kiki Dee, Johnny Mathis, Patti LaBelle, Stephanie Mills, Anita Baker, Roberta Flack, Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin and a host of others. During the 1980s he conducted and arranged strings on hits which include "Never Too Much" (Luther Vandross), "Two Hearts" (Phil Collins) and "I Believe I Can Fly" (R. Kelly). Paul Riser's work in film and television include "Mad About You," "Car Wash," "Bamboozled," "Space Jam," "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown", " Four Brothers," "Which Way Is Up" and "Mother, Jugs and Speed."

In the 21st Century he went on arrange an R&B and Soul classic for Hip/Hop artist R.Kelly, his signature song “Step in the Name of Love”. The song was a dance "anthem" at social and corporate events in the UK and America. Taken from the 2003 album “Chocolate Factory”, the track was a multi-platinum single in America and gold-certified in the UK. “Step in the Name of Love” peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Singles Chart week-ending 6th December 2003 (1 week). The album “Chocolate Factory” was number one on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart week-ending 2nd March 2003 (1 week).

Paul Riser is one of the few former Motown arrangers who is still active as a musician, continuing his outstanding contribution to major hit recordings globally.

For his great work over the decades he was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.

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About Me

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Old Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom
Kevin Tomlin has over 34 years of teaching experience in Jamaica, England and America, including 15 years teaching music history of black origin and visual art in South Florida, U.S.A., through Arts in Education. Tomlin created special training programmes and workshops for music teachers in South Florida schools, using music history as the foundation, to build exciting programmes of study and support materials for education professionals. Since 2000, he’s taught music history, geography, religious education, history, visual arts and performing arts at schools in Hertfordshire and Essex, at both primary and secondary levels. He conducts research and provides consultancy services for multi-media organisations, schools, recording artists, cultural and faith-based groups and entertainment professionals.

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