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David Valdez

Born 1976 in San Francisco, David grew up in Santa Cruz, California. David picked up the saxophone at the age of 8 years old. He attended Berklee College of music on full scholarship, where he studied with George Garzone and saxophone guru Joseph Viola (who also taught Michael Brecker, Brandford Marsalis and Charlie Mariano). While in Boston he worked with John Medeski, the Either Orchestra, Dave Holland, Clark Terry, Dominique Eade, Mick Goodrick, Danilo Perez, Bob Moses, The Four Tops, Ken Schaphorst, Jim Black, Matt Wilson. After finishing his studies David moved back to the West Coast, where for several years he led bands in the Bay Area featuring such notable players as Larry Grenadier, Eddie Marshal, Jeff Ballard, Kenny Brooks, Kenny Wollesen, Larry Scheider, Dred Scott, Charlie Hunter, Vince Wallace, Liberty Ellman, Dmitri Metheny, Mark Levine and Scott Amendola.

Eventually heading the call of New York City, Valdez moved east in the mid-nineties. There he worked with Kurt Rosenwinkle, Dave Fuiczynski Josh Redman, Josh Roseman, Ben Monder, Matt Otto, Art Lillard, Bob Mover, Brian Melvin, Heather Bennett, Jay Collins, Donny McCaslin, Peter Appelbaum and Ben Allison.

In 2000 David relocated to Portland, Oregon's thriving Jazz scene. Since moving to the Northwest he has worked with Nancy King, David Friesen, Alan Jones, Gary Smulyan, Rob Scheps, Glen Moore, Mel Brown, Dave Frishberg, Bert Wilson, Randy Porter and Robert Moore.

David's Casa Valdez Jazz blog is used as a source material for Jazz improvisation courses around the country, including the University of North Carolina, North Texas State University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

David has also performed and/or recorded with: Slide Hampton, Pharaoh Saunders, Kitty Margolis, Rebecca Parris, Roy Hargrove, Mal Waldron, Gorge Rossi, Toshiko Akioshi/Lew Tabakin, Bill Berry, The Drifters, Eddie Henderson, Victor Mendoza, Dennis Rowland, Rick Margitza, Mundell Lowe, Joseph Viola Double Quartet, Scott Amendola, Will Bernard, Jay Lane, Paul Anka, Little Anthony, Seamus Blake, Ronnie Burrage.


"David Valdez has shown himself to be a rigorously adaptable player and a jazz gent who can make things happen. With his broad shouldered alto tone he builds his solos architecturally like very few players.' Bill Smith, Willamette Week

“Alto saxophonist David "Carlos" Valdez is a full-throttle player with a rich knowledge of both bebop and latin jazz. You can hear in the warmth of his tone and the urgency of his wail, time-well spent in the jazz salt mines of NYC, the Bay Area, and beyond.” Tim DuRoche- Strong Week

“Alto saxophonist David Valdez is one of the blazing lights of PDX's vastly underrated Latin music scene

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Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

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Over 20 years teaching experience. Taught Jazz harmony at California State University at Humboldt. Noted Jazz improvisation author.


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Tumi Music



From: Oasis
By David Valdez


Jimmy Forrest
saxophone, tenor
Cliff Lyons
saxophone, alto

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