04 September 2008

September Artist of the Month: Kashif

Kashif was born Michael Jones in 1959 in Brooklyn, NY. Later taking the name Kashif Saleem after converting to Islam in the late early 80s. His early career was as a keyboard playing for the moderately successful 70s funk/disco band BT-express. He left the group in 1980, to focus on his own songwriting and production work .

1981 Kashif formed Mighty M Productions along with Paul Laurence and Morrie Brown. Kashif's sound, whether he worked within the Mighty M Productions company or by himself, was characterized hypnotic rhythm guitar along with synth bass and heavy keys. Kashif had developed a signiture sounds that he would ride for more than half the decade.

His first taste of success came when he produced Melba Moore's album including the hit "Take my love". But his true break-out came when he wrote and co-produced the mega hit "I'm In Love" with Evelyn "Champagne" King.

He followed that up in 1982 when he produced and wrote another smash hit, Howard Johnson's "So fine". Kashif and his team were now turning heads in the R&B world as keepers of a new sophisticated uptown sound. He kept up his workman like approach by heading back into the studio with Melba Moore and emerging with "The Other Side of The Rainbow" then quickly following that up with a reteaming with Evelyn King on "Get loose". The later which included the brilliant "Love come down" one of the decades most beloved songs. In addition, Kashif worked as an assistant producer on High fashion's Popdisco debut album "Feelin' lucky" in 82 under Jacques Fred Petrus (best known for the group Change). Kashif wrote two tracks on their album including the catchy "Hold on".

In 83 he produced for the third time an album with Melba Moore "Never Say Never" including hits like "Keepin' My Lover Satisfied" and "Love Me Right". In addition to all his production work, Kashif finally found time to start work on his own album. Recording tracks in between his other projects, the self titled "Kashif" was released in the second half of 1983. It was a brilliant album with gems like "I Just Got To Have", "Stone love", "The Mood" and "Help Yourself to My Love". "The Mood" would win a Grammy for best R&B instrumental of the year.

It was also in 83 when Kashif joined forces with sax player Kenny Gorelick (who he would make over as Kenny G) and guitarist George Benson. Kenny G's "G-Force" album would launch him as one of the best known sax players of all time and "Inside Love (So Personal)" would put George Benson back at the top of the R&B charts . Kashif released his solo follow up "Are You The Woman" in 84. The album included such high powered guests as Al Jarreau, George Benson, Kenny G and a young unknown backup singer named Whitney Houston.

When Clive Davis was ready to launch the young Houston's solo career, he turned to Kashif. The first single was the Kashif song "You Give Good Love"

The second half of the decade would be hit and miss for Kashif. He scored his biggest solo hit ever with "Love changes" (a duet with Meli'sa Morgan) but many other projects and solo work wasn't charting the way much of his early work was.

Kashif took a hiatus from recording in 1990, devoting his time to holding seminars and conducting classes for aspiring performers about the music business but he couldn't shake his love of the studio. Because in 1998 he released "Who Loves You" on the UK label Expansion records exclusively for the UK. Although this album was never released in the US, some of these songs appeared on his 2003 state-side album "Music of My Mind".

During the month of September, Reunion Radio will celebrate a key architect of the 80s boogie sound. We'll bring you Kashif's & Mighty M's production work along with the best of his solo albums. So sit back, relax and enjoy the feel good grooves of the 80s mixed with few sweet sounds from recent years. September is Kashif month people ........ enjoy!

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