For many music enthusiasts, there are those unique artists that touch a special place in our mind, body and soul. We discover these artists at various points in our lives and they become permanently etched on our personal soundtrack as we evolve on our life's journey. The Grammy Award-winning cellist David Darling is one of those artists for me. I was first introduced to his work on the classic Paul Winter Consort albums Road and Icarus and he just blew me away. His playing is beautiful and fresh, uninhibited and extremely innovative. He was the guy that first opened my ears to the cello as an improvisational instrument. He pushed the limits by incorporating various creative techniques to forge new sounds from the cello. Whether he is harshly striking the bow onto the strings or creating a rhythmic percussive effect by plucking or vocalizing in unison with his bowing, David's style, touch and approach is breathtaking and masterful.
Over the years, he has recorded with a variety of jazz and improvisational masters including Ralph Towner, Jan Garbarek, Colin Walcott, Steve Kuhn and Terje Rypdal. He has also released a number of creative works that incorporate environmental sounds, poetry, spiritual themes and jazz. His 1992 solo work Cello on ECM is simply brilliant and not to be missed, but my most treasured work of David's is the 1993 album Eight String Religion. I accidentally came across this recording while working on an online marketing project for the album's label Hearts of Space. Eight String Religion is the kind of warm and intimate piece that you can return to over and over again and one that showcases David Darling's wide range of brilliant talent.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of sitting down and talking with David Darling for a Jazz Online feature. Listen as he shares his artistry, influences and of course, the inspiration behind Eight String Religion. Hopefully it will move you as it has moved me. Can I get an amen?
Photo credits & music excerpts courtesy of:
Wind Over The Earth
Hearts of Space
Universal Music Group