He borrowed a flute, bought a Herbie Mann record, and started to teach himself. Years later, he recorded an album with Mann called Two Amigos. He took lessons from Hubert Laws, who became his mentor. In the 1970s Valentin combined Latin music with jazz in bands with Bill O'Connell, Lincoln Goines, Richie Morales, Robby Ameen, Sammy Figueroa, and Giovanni Hidalgo. He was the first musician signed to GRP Records, a label founded by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen that specialized in smooth jazz, jazz fusion, and jazz-pop.
He recorded his debut album with Ricardo Marrero in 1977. Over time he recorded with Noel Pointer, Patti Austin, Lee Ritenour, Chris Connor, David Benoit, Eliane Elias, and Nnenna Freelon. For seven years in a row he was chosen best jazz flautist by readers of Jazziz magazine. In 1985 he received a Grammy Award nomination. In 2003 he won a Grammy for Caribbean Jazz Project, an album he did with Dave Samuels. In March of 2012 Valentin had a stroke which left him partially paralyzed and unable to perform.
In 2015, David suffered a second stroke. Since then, David was working very hard to overcome his disabilities and required full care in an extended care facility. He and Irene have remained friends for 53 years. She was very active in his care and recovery and administered a group on Facebook "Friends Of Dave Valentin." Contrary to the story David told around the world, he never "Lost The Girl." "FRIENDS" was David's way to keep in touch with his peers, friends and fans and is constantly updated.
Irene welcomed everyone to join and post pictures, stories, their memories with David. Valentin died from complications of a stroke and Parkinson's disease in the Bronx, at the age of 64. Dave Valentin, who has recorded over 15 albums for GRP, combines together the influence of pop, R&B, and Brazilian music with Latin jazz to create a slick and accessible form of crossover jazz. At age nine, Valentin enjoyed playing bongos and congas. He gigged at Latin clubs in New York from age 12 and it was not until he was 18 that he seriously started studying flute. Valentin's teacher, Hubert Laws, suggested that he not double on saxophone because of his attractive sound on the flute.
In 1977, he made his recording debut with Ricardo Marrero's group and he was also on a Noel Pointer album. Discovered by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen, Valentin was the first artist signed to GRP and he has been a popular attraction ever since. Since the mid-2000's, Valentin has been signed to Highnote Records releasing World On A String in 2005 and Come Fly With Me in 2006. Read more on Last.fm.
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