In a career spanning over thirty years, GRAMMY award winner Dave Darlington can proudly
attest to being a master of many varied musical styles. Born in Harlem, New York City, Dave’s family traded the icy New York winters for the Florida sunshine before Dave hit his teen years.
Thus, his early musical education was a heady melting pot of formal (piano, bass and theory) training and the fusion of Miami’s rock and funk, prevalent in the clubs and radio stations that surrounded him. In addition to the Beatles and Rolling Stones, bands such as Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders, Blues Image, and early Allman Brothers helped blur musical boundaries, proving the inspiration for high school rock groups that kept Dave busy. Straddling the fences between musical genres has been a dominant theme in Dave’s career. It began in earnest when, in exchange for borrowing his university’s upright bass to play jazz, he agreed to be a part of the student orchestra. This led to his attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of Florida, and stints with the Jacksonville Symphony and Gold Coast (Tampa) Symphony Orchestras as a professional bassist, where he eventually attained the Assistant Principal position. Though Dave’s symphonic career was firmly in the ascendant, his heart was in jazz, rock and pop. Thus, he traded his tux for a pair of blue jeans and a tour bus, hitting the road for a few years with a Colorado based jazz-funk fusion band.
Tiring of the grueling live circuit, Dave settled in New York in the late ‘70’s determined to make it as a session musician. Between sessions, Dave’s growing proficiency as a programmer, backed with a multi-instrumentalist background eventually led to a job as a part-time programmer at venerable Secret Sound Recording Studio in Chelsea. Soon, owner and famous songwriter, Jerry Ragavoy, traded him up to in-house engineer at Counterpoint studios. When Counterpoint was eventually absorbed by Quadrasonic Studios in the late ‘80’s, Dave, renaming his own room/studio within Quad, Bass Hit, not only found himself with steady work in the SSL rooms but a solid client base and growing number of hit records to add to his resume. He divided his time between mixing, touring with groups like Seduction and C+C Music Factory, and songwriting, notably co-penning Phyllis Hyman’s #1 hit “Don’t Wanna Change the World.” Taking the step to go independent in 1990, Bass Hit opened on 23rd St and 6th Avenue. In a hectic decade that saw Dave consolidate his reputation as a versatile and capable mix engineer and programmer across the board in rock/pop/dance/R&B/jazz genres, he also broadened his base, drawing on his classical and symphonic background when branching out into the world of film and TV composition.
By the time Bass Hit had moved a few blocks up Sixth Avenue to 29th St., in early 2000 (the old site had morphed into MAW Studios), Dave had received critical acclaim for his compositional work for the hit HBO series “Oz”, which he would score for the entirety of its six season run. In 2003 Dave won a Grammy for mixing jazz legend Wayne Shorter’s Alegria album on Verve Records and then again in 2007 he received a GRAMMY for his work on the Eddie Palmieri/Brian Lynch collaboration, Simpático. Dave received his third mixing (and mastering) GRAMMY in 2019 for his collaboration with Brian Lynch on the Omni-American Book Club big band album, and his fourth in 2023 for mixing and mastering Steven Feifke and Bijon Watson's Generation Gap Orchestra. He has also won three Taiwanese "Golden Melody Awards," Taiwan's equivalent of the GRAMMYs.
Commenting on his versatility, Dave, responds simply: “I think if you have a passion and love for music which I do, then you bring that to your engineering sessions. The fact that I’m a musician first and have played in numerous genres gives me an affinity for what I’m working with and the musicians and producers involved. The genre is irrelevant. Good music is good music, whether it’s hip-hop, jazz, classical or rock.”