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Flutist DAVE VALENTIN combines pop, R&B, and Brazilian music with Latin jazz to create a polished form of crossover jazz. Born in New York, he grew up listening to such Latin musicians as Tito Rodriguez, Tito Puente, and Machito. He began as a percussionist and attended the High School of Music and Art, but in college switched to flute. Valentin took a few lessons from Hubert Laws and from a classical player, Hal Bennett, but primarily taught himself. Valentin worked as a schoolteacher for seven years but always played music. A demo session led to a call from Dave Grusin to make a record. Although Valentin continued teaching for a year after he made his debut album, he eventually took a chance and became a full-time musician, quickly finding success as one of the top flute players in popular music. He would record 18 albums as a leader for GRP before Sunshower, his recent debut album for the Concord Vista label.
Regarding his Sunshower collaborators Valentin says, "This is very much a family affair. Pianist Bill O'Connell, bassist Ruben Rodriguez, drummer Robbie Ameen and percussionist Milton Cardona have each been with me for over ten years. I was quite lucky to find these very talented musicians who can play straight-ahead jazz, Latin jazz, tangos and other styles with equal skill." With such guests as vibraphonist Dave Samuels, guitarist Steve Khan, Ed Calle on alto, soprano and tenor, and percussionist Rafael de Jesus, Valentin and his group perform music that is both funky and thoughtful, melodic yet searching.
Although best known as a leader, Dave Valentin has had some notable stints as a sideman, playing with McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Ray Barretto, Celia Cruz, and Michel Camilo, as well as being musical director for Tito Puente. In recent times, in addition to a great deal of touring, Dave Valentin made his first visit to Cuba in 15 years. "That was an experience beyond words, playing with some of the top musicians in the country."
Dave Valentin last performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 2000.