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Album Review: Reverence
David Darling
Cover image of the album Reverence by David Darling
David Darling
2022 / Curve Blue
38 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Reverence is a posthumous collection of previously unreleased music from cellist/composer David Darling. The album is being released on what would have been David's 81st birthday (3/4/2022) and was produced by David's longtime friend and producer Mickey Houlihan. David released dozens of albums both under his own name and in collaboration with other musicians; he was also an early member of The Paul Winter Consort in the 1970s. He had four Grammy nominations for Best New Age Album (Homage to Kindness and In Love and Longing in 2019, and Cello Blue in 2002) and won for A Prayer for Compassion in 2010. Along with collaborating with other musicians, David worked with writers, dancers and filmmakers. He redefined how the cello is played and how music is taught, believing deeply that music is for everyone and is an essential creative expression with social and spiritual power. David Darling passed away in January 2021, but his rich legacy of music will continue to inspire many generations to come.

The ten tracks on Reverence are varied and feature a handful of supporting artists including Paul Fowler on piano, keyboards and vocals, Ross Bellenoit on guitar, Katie Mintle's vocals, and Ty Burhoe on gongs. All of the music was composed and performed by David Darling on acoustic cello, 8 string electric cello, piano and vocals. Despite the eclectic range of the music, the album holds together beautifully and gives an impressive sampling of David's versatility as a composer, musician and improvisor.

Reverence begins with my two favorite tracks. "Water Dragon" is a gently melancholy waltz with the cello both bowed and played pizzicato (plucked strings), and some subtle atmospheric sounds in the background. "For the Love of Oceans" overflows with deep emotion and feelings of loss that are made even more powerful with the accompanying video footage provided by the Oceanic Preservation Society (see link to video). "Northern Lights" is much more ambient with piano, cello and keyboard conveying the colors and experience of seeing the Northern Lights. The title track is also very ambient with haunting musical sounds that include wordless vocals, expressing feelings of profound stillness and perhaps prayer or meditation. "Hindu Goddess" begins with the sound of a very quiet gong before the rhythmic guitar and soothing cello enter - very peaceful. "Water Mirror" shimmers with layers of piano, cello and atmospheric keyboard effects, creating a magical listening experience! A subtle and uncomplicated duet for piano and cello, "Emergence" could provide a lovely soundtrack for a butterfly's rebirth from a cocoon or something similar. "The Passing" is very dark and mournful with cello and vocals (all David) - emotions that the cello expresses better than any other instrument. "Entering" is coolly atmospheric with cello, guitar and ambient keyboard washes - tranquility with a dreamy floating quality. The album closes with "I Don't Know Yet," a title I'd love to know the story behind! The piece is very still, reverent and exploratory - perhaps in search of the unknown of the title. The music is layered, but sounds to be mostly cello with some keyboard tonal colors in the background. It's very soothing and relaxing and a beautiful piece of music to leave us with.

Reverence is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Don't miss it!
March 4, 2022
More reviews of David Darling albums
Cover image of the album Where Did the Time Go by David Darling
with Neil Tatar
Cover image of the album Cello Blue by David Darling
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Cover image of the album Ocean Dreaming Ocean by David Darling
with Hans Christian
Grammy Nominees