Remembering Dave Valentin

Dave Valentin (1952 – 2017)

A fine flutist is remembered

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Dave Valentin was an influential Latin jazz flutist whose recordings for the GRP label in the 1980s and ‘90s were quite popular.

He was born Apr. 29, 1952 in the South Bronx to Puerto Rican parents.

A professional percussionist when he was just ten, Valentin took up the flute when he was 12, inspired by Herbie Mann and Hubert Laws (from whom he took lessons).

After a period of freelancing in the 1970s, he became the first musician signed to the new GRP label, leading 17 albums during 1979-94.

Whether featured in Afro-Cuban jazz, straight ahead or pop/jazz settings, Valentin always contributed colorful and energetic solos.

A stroke ended his career in 2012 and on Mar. 8, 2017 Dave Valentin passed away at the age of 64 from another stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

Here is a fine clip of Dave Valentin performing Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” at an outdoor concert while backed by the Hudson River.


Dave Valentin, flute
Ray Martinez, bass
Phoenix Rivera, drums
Anthony Carillo, congas

– Scott Yanow


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