on life, music etc beyond mainstream

It‘s interesting how memory works when you see the cover of an album you once owned and loved – and lost along the years while  moving places. With the exception of the bass player, all musicians involved are well and alive in my record collection. I loved this album more than the trio album named „Skylight“, with Art Lande, David Samuels and Paul McCandless. Strange you can still remember personal preferences though I haven‘t heard this album for decades.

What does Tyran Grillo write about „Gallery“? Let‘s look at some of his  words: „Its talents are immediately sent skyward in “Soaring,” where the sprightly vibes of Dave Samuels find complement in bassist Ratzo Harris and cellist David Darling, both of whom roll off Michael DiPasqua’s delicate snare and cymbals like words from a poet’s tongue. Darling takes some of the album’s most gorgeous improvisatory turns here. His fluid lines continue in “Prelude,” a duet with Samuels that shares the same breath with “A Lost Game.” The latter is transitory, not unlike the album as a whole, playing out especially in the rhythmic crosspollination between vibes and drums, slung ever so delicately by the bass’s curves. Paul McCandless lays the gold foil of his own beauties with a soprano sax solo that takes this configuration to greater heights, surpassed only by the reflective cello that follows. “Painting” sounds like a Gavin Bryars ensemble piece, unfolding into the remnants of a Morton Feldman dream before awakening in the harmonic contract of a “Pale Sun.” On then does the “Egret” drop us in limpid vibrations, where only a hushed “Night Rain” shows us the final trail“. 

Yeah, the words correspond well well with my sepia-tinted memories. This is not the kind of album where you suddenly remember melodies, but atmospheres. And the sophisticated cover may surely work as a kind of curtain raiser for the music. I think Brian Whistler,  who knows Paul McCandless very well, has this album at home, and probably more vivid things to say. No doubt this is a record you want to return to, and I certainly will.


(Michael Engelbrecht)



David Samuels vibraharp, percussion
Michael DiPasqua drums, percussion
Paul McCandless soprano saxophone, oboe, english horn
David Darling cello
Ratzo Harris bass


Recorded May 1981 at Sound Ideas Studio, New York
Engineer: David Baker
Produced by Manfred Eicher



Yes indeed, I have this album. About a year ago an Australian friend sent me what I assume is a needle drop on CD- (but its almost too clean) in fact, coincidentally, i was just listening to this album this morning before I saw this post.

I’ve been a big fan of Dave Samuels since the beginning. In fact, he was a huge influence on my vibes playing (pianist first- i picked up the vibes back in 1987.) it was Dave’s marvelous instructional books that set me on the right path, along with Gary Burton’s wonderful teaching materials.

Most people think of Dave as the guy who was in Spirogyra. I was going to write a piece about the other side of his career (maybe I still will.) , his wonderful collaboration Double Image with fellow mallet master Dave Friedman. While they have a nice album out prior to ECM, their ECM album Dawn remains a favorite. Then there was also the Caribbean Jazz Project and his duo albums with Andy Laverne- Dave was a busy guy.



David Samuels vibraharp, marimba
David Friedman vibraharp, marimba
Harvie Swartz bass
Michael DiPasqua drums, percussion
Recorded October 1978 at Talent Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher


Dave made every project tastier- his lines are always so fresh and optimistic. There is a natural flow and a sense of new discovery in every solo. I consider Gallery one of The best chamber jazz albums ever recorded, the other being Skylight (Paul once told me Skylight was his favorite chamber jazz recording.) .

Interestingly enough, McCandless is on both of these recordings. This association goes back to the wonderful (mostly) trio album Paul did for Vanguard, All the Mornings Bring, which was thankfully released on CD only a few years back. Art Lande was the 3rd player on that album as well as in the same lineup on Skylight.

Gallery also has the David Darling factor, another great team player who doesn’t grandstand- just plays what matters. All of these great players humbly contribute their considerable talents to Gallery. I honestly don’t know why with each reissue of past masters, this one (along with Dawn) always seems to be missed. Both albums are atmospheric masterpieces, and because of their ephemeral nature, can be played multiple times and still ,new discoveries are made. I hope ECM will release them on disc someday. Meanwhile you can listen to a master quality audio version of Dawn on TIDAL.

This is the territory in which Paul McCandless shines. He was still playing a lot of double reeds in those days and never sounding more authoritative on those instruments than during this productive period of his career.

I’m still not over Dave’s untimely death earlier this year. And we lost Michael DiPasqua not all that long before.


(Brian Whistler)

This entry was posted on Donnerstag, 8. August 2019 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I factually lost DAWN, too, somewhere, sometime. Fine memories about that one. Ordered a vinyl copy on Discogs.
    Let‘s wait and listen😉

    And, by the way: this is not an album that is heavy on rotation in 2019 on our blue planet. This kind of synchronicity comes very close to telepathy.

  2. Brian Whistler:

    I still have my somewhat scratched up vinyl. I believe Dawn did have a brief CD release. I’m fairly certain the copy that was sent to me from AU is a burn. If you’d like a copy, I can wetransfer it to you.

  3. Brian Whistler:

    I can also send you Gallery – it is is a needle drop, it’s pretty damn near a perfect one. I don’t hear any distracting noise on there.

  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Asked ECM for an ultra rare vinyl of Gallery from their archives (it‘s like asking for a highly expensive Bordeaux at Sansibar‘s wine cellar treasures) – or a WAV file. Would be for my show in October. This August‘s ECM decades time travel journey is crammed full, with space and silence in huge portions though😉

  5. ijb:

    Very nice. I was hoping to include at least one of these in my shortfilm series.

    David Samuels died very recently, this April. I have tried getting in contact with Art Lande and David Darling, but did not receive any response… Paul McCandless would be great, but I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to California quite soon..

  6. Brian Whistler:

    Incidentally, Gallery was among the rare ECM albums to be released recently in digital format. There is a master quality audio version available for streaming on TIDAL>

  7. Michael Engelbrecht:

    The cover designs here are such a joy to look at, I really ask myself how come I lose all those records with time passing by… now DAWN will come back to me in good old vinyl.

    And, strange enough, I felt an urgent need to listen to David Darling‘s album CYCLES, also from that era, 1981, I think. Arild Andersen played the bass there, and i really want to feel the vibes of the music on my headphones again.

    From time to time I email with Arild, and one time i asked him about one of my fave jazz albums from old times, Way Out West, Sonny Rollins, Ray Browne, Shelley Manne. Cause his last trio was also sax, bass, drums. He had never heard it, to my big surprise. Then he went for it. I asked him: And?! It‘s very good, he said. Cool.

  8. Brian Whistler:

    Incidentally, these are among the releases that ECM has made available in HD. I just bought Dawn, Gallery, Path (Vanderbilt Geld) and Rubisa Patrol Desert Marauders In 96/24. They sound amazing, especially Gallery.

  9. Jan Bäcklin:

    Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful music. And, Michael, you mention David Darling‘s Cycles. I have often used this record in theatre-work, for concentration as well as relaxation, but most of all: inspiration. Some of the intensive, lyrical musical lines presented in Cycles make me want to cry every time I listen to them, they help opening my mind and also reassure me of a higher conception of life – a state safely beyond boring limits of „understanding“.

  10. Brian Whistler:

    I still have Dawn on Vinyl, although its not exactly in pristine condition. I love the vinyl covers too because the artwork is so beautiful…The cool thing about these 96/24 downloads is they sound unbelievably rich and detailed. And no pops or clicks. I’m listening to Dawn this am and really digging it. The dynamic range is also much wider than with an LP which is always the case, as lps have their inherent physical limitations. They always compress the dynamic range so the needle doesn’t jump out of the groove.

    I still like my vinyl, but when it comes to music as delicate and dynamic as this, well, the downloads are my favorite way to hear this music. Gallery in HD sounds incredible. Probably the best of the lot. Also got Rubisa Patrol’s 2nd album, Desert Marauders. Not quite as impressive sounding, but still a revelation over my tired vinyl. Path by Tom Van der Geld has so much space in it- this is the first time I have fully heard that space. It’s heavenly.

  11. C. Andrew Hovan:

    At about the same time that I was putting together my previous Junkyard piece on Sam Rivers I fortunately obtained an out-of-print copy of the book Sleeves of Desire. As a fan of album cover art, I had been hunting this one down for some time in order to take in the full scope of ECM’s history. Not only does this wonderful book highlight some of the label’s greatest covers, but there’s also a full-color illustration of the entire catalog up to the time of publication. Needless to say, I was sent back to my album stacks to pull out some titles I hadn’t listened to in a good while. Thus, I couldn’t resist making it another ECM title for rediscovery this month and one that holds fond memories for me personally.

    I can still recall being in a mall in West Palm Beach, Florida when I came upon the Double Image album Dawn in a cutout bin (keep in mind this is not an easy task when one has thousands and thousands of albums and discs). I often spent summer vacations in Florida with my grandparents and I had just finished high school and was enrolled in a music conservatory studying classical percussion. Up to this point, I knew the ECM name only through various Pat Metheny albums, but when I turned over the cover of Dawn and saw the names David Samuels and Dave Friedman I knew I had to grab this particular album. You see, both men happen to be expert percussionists and the band Double image was formed around the duo’s vibraphone and marimba work. Rounding out the group were bassist Harvie Swartz (better known these days as Harvie S) and drummer Michael Di Pasqua.

    Nowadays the average listener has a broad range of listening experiences due to how small the world has become via the Internet and communications in general, but back in 1978 it was surely a bit of an oddity to find a group with the lead voices being two percussion instruments. But both Samuels and Friedman deliver some especially attractive music over the course of four lengthy originals supported ably by Swartz and Di Pasqua. My favorite is still Samuels’ “Sunset Glow,” which starts out as a whisper and then shifts into high gear. Swartz contributes “Passage” and the opportunity for Samuels and Friedman to mesh on vibes and marimba make for some dazzling interplay.

    Unfortunately, the lifespan of Double Image was short lived and there would be no further ECM dates, although Samuels would make another masterful set with Paul McCandless and others under the banner of Gallery a few years later. Although a bit dog eared at this point, Dawn remains one of my ECM favorites and it would be nothing short of a revelation to hear it lovingly transferred to compact disc.

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