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Flutist Dave Valentin is a New Yorker who has capitalized upon a plethora of easy-to-take Latin-lite albums over the years, largely for the GRP label. The emphasis that Valentin lent those GRP albums was fusion-ish, with the perfectly syncopated sounds of smooth Latin jazz and R&B. Of the seventeen albums Valentin has recorded since 1980, only a handful have fallen outside of this categorization. The flutist also led dates on the more authentic Latin RMM label and one date on Concord Records. It is no coincidence that some of his best reviews have come from his two most recent dates for the mainstream HighNote label.
There is no direct clue in the material chosen for Come Fly With Me; several tunes are originals from long-time Valentin pianist/arranger Bill O'Connell, along with two standards. Due to the specific personnel on this date, the true nature of the music is of a higher order. Some of the best Latino players are present, including percussionists Milton Cardona and Richie Flores, along with popular trombonist Papo Vazquez. Drummer Robbie Ameen and tenor saxophonist Chris Barretto (Ray's son) appear on the Tadd Dameron ballad "If You Could See Me Now." In a typical setting, the title tune, long associated with Frank Sinatra, features Dave Valentin's lilting, almost pop/jazz flute.
In a nutshell, this is an Afro-Cuban gig, not a commercial or funk groove-type album.
Track Listing: Come Fly With Me; Twinkle Toes; Enciendido; Mind Games; If You Could See Me Now; Easy
Street; Tu Panuelo; House of the Sun; Song For My Brothers.
Personnel: Dave Valentin: flute; Chris Barretto: tenor sax (5); Papa Vazquez: trombone; Bill O'Connell: piano; Liquez Cutris: acoustic bass; Robby Ameen: drums; Milton Cardona, Richie Flores: percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.