Jun 9, 2017
A Musical Celebration of Life for the renowned Latin jazz flautist Dave Valentin will take place Monday, June 12, beginning at 6 PM at Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street in Manhattan. The Grammy Award winning-artist passed on March 8 after a long illness at 64 years of age.
In addition to remarks from family and friends, Valentin’s long time group will perform, led by pianist / musical director Bill O’Connell, with bassist Lincoln Goines, drummer Robby Ameen, and percussionist Sammy Figueroa. Additional musicians expected to perform include flutists Andrea Brachfeld, Connie Grossman and Karen Joseph, as well as trombonist Papo Vázquez and other artists to be announced.
Heralded as “the Pied Piper of the Bronx,” Dave Valentin was born of Puerto Rican parents in 1952 and lived his entire life in the borough. He was the first artist to be signed to the popular GRP recording label, beginning in 1979, and he made some fifteen recordings as a leader, helping shape the label’s sound. In 2002, he won a Grammy Award with vibraphonist Dave Samuels and saxophonist / clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera for the Caribbean Jazz Project’s recording The Gathering.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Bill O’Connell about Dave Valentin and his legacy for Podcast 578. O’Connell became a fixture in the New York Latin jazz and salsa scene that was flowering in the city in the 1970s. Eventually he joined the legendary Mongo Santamaria’s Latin jazz group in 1977 and began a three year run as his keyboardist. Bill kept his hand in straight ahead jazz as well, playing with Sonny Rollins and Chet Baker, and building relationships with Charles Fambrough and Jon Lucien that would lead to a number of recordings as a sideman.
O’Connell was introduced to Valentin in 1981 at a GRP session, and was by his side as music director and keyboardist through the release of 15 albums.
Podcast 578 features the music of Dave Valentin and Bill O’Connell, including the title track from Bill’s latest album, Monk’s Cha-Cha. Valentin selections include"Love LIght in Flight" and "Oasis" from Jungle Garden
There is no admission charge to the service, and seating is general admission. Donations can be made in Dave Valentin’s memory to Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education in the Bronx or the Jazz Foundation of America. For more information, please contact the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture at (718) 518-4455.