Dave Valentin

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Dave Valentin
Valentin at the World Music and Dance Centre, March 2008
Valentin at the World Music and Dance Centre, March 2008
Background information
Birth nameDavid Peter Valentin
Born(1952-04-29)April 29, 1952
South Bronx, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 8, 2017(2017-03-08) (aged 64)
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
GenresLatin jazz, smooth jazz, salsa
Years active1965–2012
LabelsCTI, GRP, Highnote

David Peter Valentin (April 29, 1952 – March 8, 2017) was an American Latin jazz flautist of Puerto Rican descent.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Valentin was born to Puerto Rican parents in The Bronx in New York City. He attended The High School of Music & Art.[2] He learned percussion at an early age, and by 10 was playing conga and timbales professionally.[3][1] When he was 12, he began to practice the flute so he could get to know a girl in school who played the flute, Irene Cathcart. He borrowed a flute, bought a Herbie Mann record, and started to teach himself.[4] Years later, he recorded an album with Mann called Two Amigos.[2] He took lessons from Hubert Laws, who became his mentor.

In the 1970s, Valentin combined Latin music with jazz in bands with Bill O'Connell, Lincoln Goines, Richie Morales, Robby Ameen, Sammy Figueroa, and Giovanni Hidalgo.[3] He was the first musician signed to GRP Records, a label founded by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen that specialized in smooth jazz, jazz fusion, and jazz-pop. He recorded his debut album with Ricardo Marrero in 1977.[2] Over time he recorded with Noel Pointer, Patti Austin, Lee Ritenour, Chris Connor, David Benoit, Eliane Elias, and Nnenna Freelon.[3] Until 1979, he was a schoolteacher.[1]

For several years Valentin served as musical director for Tito Puente's Golden Latin Jazz All-Stars, and also toured with Manny Oquendo's Conjunto Libre. In 2000, he appeared in the documentary Calle 54 performing with Tito Puente's Orchestra.[5][6][7]

For seven years in a row, he was chosen best jazz flautist by readers of Jazziz magazine. In 1985, he received a Grammy Award nomination as best R&B instrumentalist.[2][1] In 2003, he won a Grammy for Caribbean Jazz Project, an album he did with Dave Samuels.[8]

In March 2012, Valentin had a stroke which left him partially paralyzed and unable to perform. In 2015 he suffered a second stroke, and worked to overcome his disabilities in an extended care facility.[9]

On March 8, 2017, Valentin died from complications of a stroke and Parkinson's disease in the Bronx at the age of 64. His lifelong "special friend", Irene, for whom he learned to play the flute, was at his side when he passed.[10]


  • Legends (GRP, 1978)
  • The Hawk (GRP, 1979)
  • Land of the Third Eye (GRP, 1980)
  • I Got It Right This Time (Arista, 1981)
  • Pied Piper (GRP, 1981)
  • In Love's Time (Arista/GRP, 1982)
  • Flute Juice (GRP, 1983)
  • Kalahari (GRP, 1984)
  • Jungle Garden (GRP, 1985)
  • Light Struck (GRP, 1986)
  • Mind Time (GRP, 1987)
  • Live at the Blue Note (GRP, 1988)
  • Two Amigos (GRP, 1990)
  • Musical Portraits (GRP, 1992)
  • Red Sun (GRP, 1993)
  • Tropic Heat (GRP, 1994)
  • Sunshower (Concord Jazz, 1999)
  • Primitive Passions (RMM, 2005)
  • World on a String (Highnote, 2005)
  • Come Fly With Me (Highnote, 2006)
  • Pure Imagination (Highnote, 2011)

With Steve Turre

With the GRP All-Star Big Band

With Scott Cossu

  • Islands (Windham Hill, 1984)
  • Switchback (Windham Hill, 1989)
  • Stained Glass Memories (Windham Hill, 1992)


  1. ^ a b c d Moreno, Jairo (2011-06-02), "Valentín (Ramírez), Dave", Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.a2093537, ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0, retrieved 2021-09-30
  2. ^ a b c d "Dave Valentin". All About Jazz. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Rye, Howard (2002). Kernfeld, Barry (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Vol. 3 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 172. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.
  4. ^ Gonzalez, David (3 June 2011). "Dave Valentin Hangs With Cool Cats, at Home and David performed his first song at their Spring Concert ~Wes Montgomery's ~ "The Joker" along with his Jazz Quartet. Away". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  5. ^ Slattery, Denis (9 March 2017). "Viva: Dave Valentin, Grammy-winning jazz flutist from the Bronx, dies at 64". New York Daily News. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  6. ^ McCallister, Doreen. "Grammy Award-Winning Latin Jazz Flutist Dave Valentin Dies at 64". kqed.org. KQED. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Dave Valentin, Flutist". Jazz Museum. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  8. ^ "A Special Valentine for Dave Valentin". The Bronx Chronicle. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  9. ^ Gonzalez, David (5 January 2014). "Latin Jazz Stalwart Struggles to Make Sweet Sounds Again". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  10. ^ Roberts, Sam (March 8, 2017). "Dave Valentin, a Grammy Award-Winning Latin Jazz Flutist, Dies at 64. Irene Cathcart, the girl he learned to Flute to meet". The New York Times. p. B14.

External links[edit]