Jazz Flutist And Grammy Winner Dave Valentin

Dave Valentin
Jazz flutist Dave Valentin (born April 29, 1952, in New York City) was hospitalized on March 3, 2012, after suffering a stroke during a performance at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis. He’s been disabled since then, and unable to earn a living doing what he used to do best: play flute, making wonderful music. A tribute was paid to Mr. Valentin at the Tarrytown Music Hall on Thursday, November 7th. Then an online fundraising was initiated on January 8, 2014 which will finalize on March 9, 2014. The goal was to raise $25,000 to help him stay in his home in the Bronx, New York. With only six days left to the end of the campaign, $5,991 has been collected. The campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal, but today we are appealing to everybody who’s reading this article to please consider making a donation. Dave Valentin deserves your help.

Also today, we dedicate this section “Artist of the Week” to Dave Valentin, a terrific artist and a wonderful human being. We reproduce his bio as posted online by Wikipedia.com and Yamaha.com.

Dave Valentin learned Latin percussion first when he was a teenager, and then switched to flute. Valentin’s teacher, Hubert Laws, suggested that he not double on saxophone because of his attractive sound on the flute. He studied at the Bronx Community College. He is of Puerto Rican descent.

In 1977, he made his recording debut with Ricardo Marrero’s group and he appeared also on a Noel Pointer album. Discovered by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen, Valentin was the first artist signed to GRP and he has been a popular attraction ever since. Valentin has recorded over 15 albums, combining the influence of pop, R&B, and Brazilian music with Latin and smooth jazz to create a slick and accessible form of crossover jazz. In 2000, he appeared in the documentary film, Calle 54, performing with Tito Puente. He toured with El Negro and MioSotis. Since the mid-2000s, Valentin has been signed to Highnote Records releasing ”World On A String” (2005) and ”Come Fly With Me” (2006). He has done several collaborations with pianist Bill O’Connell and was a nominee for the Latin Grammy Awards of 2006.

Dave Valentin won a Grammy for the Latin jazz category at the 45th Grammy Awards in 2003. The Grammy was for the album “Caribbean Jazz Project”, with Dave Samuels.


  • Havana Candy (CTI, 1977) with Patti Austin
  • Legends (GRP, 1978)
  • The Hawk (GRP, 1979)
  • Land of the Third Eye (GRP, 1980)
  • Pied Piper (GRP, 1981)
  • In Love’s Time (Arista, GRP, 1982)
  • Flute Juice (GRP, 1983)
  • Kalahari (GRP, 1984)
  • Dave Grusin / Lee Ritenour / Diane Schuur / Dave Valentin – GRP Live In Session (GRP, 1985)
  • Jungle Garden (GRP, 1985)
  • Light Struck (GRP, 1986)
  • Mind Time (GRP, 1987)
  • Live At The Blue Note (GRP, 1988)
  • Dave Valentin, Herbie Mann – Two Amigos (GRP, 1990)
  • Musical Portraits (GRP, 1992)
  • Red Sun (GRP, 1993)
  • Tropic Heat (GRP, 1994)
  • Sunshower (CR, 1999)
  • Primitive Passions (UMGR, 2005)
  • Come Fly With Me (HNR, 2006)
  • Pure Imagination (HNR, 2011)

Source: Wikipedia.com

[youtube id=”g6WvDMI6axc”]

Dave Valentin started playing Latin percussion at the age of five and began performing professionally at the age of eleven. At the late age of sixteen he picked up the flute for the first time. He was trained at the High School of Music and Art. He then studied at the Bronx Community College majoring in Liberal Arts. Dave has studied with Hubert Laws, Harold Bennett and Harold Jones.

Dave went back to work at his old junior high after school program called “Change through Music.” He taught Latin Jazz to the inner city kids, and was able to involve gang members in this program, giving back to his community. He accepted a position as a full-time professor teaching Latin and music for several years. His work and dedication influenced many children to continue their education. Dave feels very proud to be a part of what they have accomplished, and continues to visit, talk, and play with them to keep inspiring and motivating them to a higher level of education. Dave has become an extraordinary role model, and feels it is up to people in his position to make a change.

Dave plays in a versatile jazz style, marked by nimble insistent syncopation of a rocking salsa laced with tropical mystery and played on a variety of ethnic and classical flutes. His unorthodox technique emphasizes the percussive side of flute playing. His playing comes from the heart and the spirit of an international culture, a combination of Brazilian, R&B, salsa, meringue, Latin, funk, and jazz. Early in his career, there was not a market for Latin jazz, but he broke ground and prejudice, creating a niche for himself.

Throughout his travels in different countries and ethnic communities, Dave has collected many flutes, most of which he travels with and uses at his performances. Some of the flutes he uses are from; Africa, Japan, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and the American Indian. In his shows he plays them and explains the significance to the culture of origin. This gives his students and the public a much better understanding of the wonderful instrument he plays.

Source: Yamaha.com

Danilo Navas
Danilo Navas
Founder, Editor, Webmaster: Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report, Toronto Music Report. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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