Renown Latin jazz flutist, Dave Valentin, was born of Puerto Rican parents in 1952 in New York City. His love for music started quite early; playing bongos and congas before he was 10 and even working Latin clubs in New York by 12. His talent and interest took him to the well respected High School of Music and Art in New York City, where he began studying percussion.
Valentin changed to flute and complemented his formal education at school with private classes under master flutist Hubert Laws. The early influences on Valentin’s development as a flutist came from Latin artists such as Richard Egues but was tempered by American jazz musicians including James Moody, Frank Wess, Joe Farrell and, of course, his mentor, Hubert Laws.
Valentin soon began working as a professional musician in Latin bands, developing an unusual technique that featured blowing in a manner that sounded like percussion. Other unique developments by Valentin included singing into the flute and using non-standard flute instruments such a bass flute and a variety of flute developed in Colombia. He applied his techniques to a wide variety of music genres, ranging from jazz and R&B to salsa and merengue.
Despite the fact that the market for Latin jazz artists was not very good when Valentin was trying to establish his professional career, he persevered and pursued other avenues. He made a name for himself in the Far East, Australia, and Europe as well as the United States, based on his extraordinary and evident talent.