At a young age, Valentin had
aptitude as a percussionist andwas
driven to do the best he could. At the age of 17, his focus switched from percussion to
wind instruments. He picked up the flute in pursuit of a girl who played flute -- and
quickly played circles around her, discovering the talent that made him a star.
Dave Valentin has spent the past
twenty-one years playing 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. He was trained at the High School of Music and Art. 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. Established as a New York artist, he was able to break into other markets,
Europe, the Far East, Australia and Indonesia. He has made 18 albums and has appeared on
countless other albums as a guest performer. Among his many honors is a 1985 Grammy
nomination for best R&B instrumentalist. He has been voted "Best Jazz
Flutist" in JazzIs Magazine for the past seven years.
Though his career has taken
him around the world, he continues to make The Bronx his home. He is very active in his
community, participating in fundraisers with hospitals and schools. He has a program that
he delivers to The Bronx schools, which includes an anti-drug video, Bronx Bad Boys. He
then takes time after the video to do a question and answer period. He has found that
children identify him as a role model. He comes from the same community; therefore they
can see his success.
The video, Bronx Bad Boys,
was named after his single in his most recent album, Dos Amigos. In the video, Valentin,
on flute, appears in a vision to a young boy enticed by the seduction of drugs in the
rubble of the South Bronx. The story shows the boy how to "say no to drugs."
Valentin is intent on making
an impact on future generations with both his music and community work. He has been
honored by the Puerto Rican Educator's Society and has received citations for
contributions to the community. In his parents' hometown of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, he has
been entered into the public archives for his prominent contributions.
When asked how come he's
never left The Bronx, Dave is quick to respond, "Because I don't want to. I'm proud
to live in The Bronx. We have a true community again."
His advice to all kids:
"As my father told me, 'It doesn't matter what you decide to do, do your best. If you
want to wash dishes, be the best there is. If you want to repair cars, be the best
mechanic there is.' "
For more information about
Dave and his music, email: