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POP EYE

October 04, 1987|PAUL GREIN

TOP HITTER: Reggie Calloway is the hottest producer of the moment, with two hits in the Top 15 on the national pop chart: Levert's sexy "Casanova" and Natalie Cole's high-octane comeback hit, "Jump Start," which he wrote and produced with his brother Vincent.

Calloway spent 10 years in the R&B group Midnight Star, peaking in 1983 with the double platinum success of "No Parking on the Dance Floor." Calloway left the group two years later to concentrate on outside production jobs and also his own recording career--both as a solo artist and in the duo Calloway with his brother.

Calloway is the latest in a long line of top producers to emerge from R&B groups. Among the others: Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (Chic), Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (the Time) and Lionel Richie (the Commodores).

Calloway said that the give-and-take of being in a group is good preparation for becoming a producer. "You learn a lot by being in a group, especially about compromise and working with other people's ideas."

While at Solar Records, Calloway produced songs by the Whispers and the all-female group Klymaxx. His current success with Cole--who hadn't cracked the Top 20 in nearly a decade--is especially meaningful. Midnight Star's debut performance was opening for Cole at a homecoming concert at the group's alma mater, Kentucky State University.

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