ECM Records News Release
Cellist David Darling has died, aged 79. A unique improviser and creative spirit, his evocative playing can be heard on many ECM recordings and in the soundtracks of many films. Born in Elkhart, Indiana, in 1941, David first came to wider attention as a member of the Paul Winter Consort, whose line-up at the beginning of the 1970s included Ralph Towner, Glen Moore, Collin Walcott and Paul McCandless, all future members of the group Oregon. Darling’s ECM debut was on Towner’s Old Friends, New Friends, recorded in the summer of 1979, where he joined a cast featuring Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Gomez and Michael di Pasqua. It was soon followed by the influential solo album Journal October which sensitively mapped out some of the musical areas Darling would investigate in detail in the years ahead. If his entirely solo albums (Journal October, Cello and Dark Wood) gave the purest account of his creative imagination, David also rejoiced in musical collaboration. His album Cycles (1981) reunited him with Collin Walcott and introduced him to Jan Garbarek, Steve Kuhn, and Arild Andersen, while Eos (1983) marked the beginning of a long association with Terje Rypdal, on whose Skywards album (1996) David played. In the mid-1990s, Darling and Rypdal came together with Jon Christensen and Ketil Bjørnstad to improvise around Ketil’s themes on The Sea and the Sea II, and the quartet became a popular touring band. Darling and Bjørnstad, furthermore, toured and recorded in duo as on The River (1996) and Epigraphs (1998), the latter including free arrangements of music of William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons and Guillaume Dufay as well as original compositions by the cellist and the pianist. Other ECM appearances include: Faces (1980) a session led by french horn player John Clark; Gallery (1981), a collaborative project with Paul McCandless, Dave Samuels, Ratzo Harris and Michael Di Pasqua; singer Sidsel Endresen’s Exile (1993); drummer Pierre Favre’s Window Steps (1995), with Steve Swallow, Kenny Wheeler and Roberto Ottaviano…
The sounds of David’s cello had also become an integral component of the films of Jean-Luc Godard. Darling’s music can be heard throughout Nouvelle Vague, whose soundtrack was issued by ECM in 1997, as well as the magnum opus Histoire(s) du Cinéma (1999), and other films including The Old Place, incorporated into the ECM Cinema DVD release Four Short Films (2006).
photo by Byron Smith