Back in 1980, I had the honor of hearing “The Hawk” by New York native and flutists Dave Valentin. This record featured a cast of splendid players along with the captivating voice of Angel Bofill. Perhaps, while still going through various growing pains in developing the art and or the mishaps of discovering new artists, various jazz styles, and new instruments. I found Mr. Valentin’s music to display the virtues and of idyllic messenger with the vitality of a warrior, giving this young lad [at the time] the perfect antidote for my ongoing transformation of letting music find me.
Reflecting somewhat on that period, we must remember the suffering of jazz artists as well as other musicians [genres] in music was going through a extremely bumpy transitional stage and abrasive financial challenges to meet their personal and business needs. Nonetheless, Dave Valentin persevered during these times by staying atone to his own voice by combining the elements of Latin, r&b, pop, and Jazz which crossed over into a melting pot of success for him. In other words, stay true to your gift of music and you’ll survive the perhaps hardships of this or any business.
After a couple of solid albums, a record titled “Pied Piper” appeared it seems out of nowhere in 1982 on Arista Records produced by legendary producers Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen. With this ensemble on hand featuring these marvelous players, Rafael De Jesus, Oscar Hernandez, Tito Marrero, Roger Squitero, Michael Vinas, Lincoln Goines and first call talent of Grusin, Marcus Miller, Buddy Williams, Crusher Bennett, and guitarist Bobby Broom it was inevitable this record was bound to turn more then just a few heads for Valentin.
No, I’m not saying “Pied Piper” is Valentin’s best effort. With that said, this project inhibits some inspiring and very attractive compositions that help elevate Dave into the position of being one of the most respected flutist and composers of Latin Jazz in the music business. With seven tracks on tap, “Piper” opens with the symmetry of pop flavored melodies and danceable rhythms, layered with r&b vocals over the top. Track two, “Seven Stars,” redirects with more of a Latin flavor at the heart and soul of Dave’s signature sound!
Dave’s lyricism on “This Time,” sustains itself, as the third cut on “Piper” is absolutely one of my all-time favorites by Valentin. Previously, I heard this song by Al Jarreau, he sing this gem (A Rhyme) “This Time” on his self-tiled album “This Time” featured guitarist Earl Klugh, the same year. Valentin’s tonality is truly amazing on the flute as the depth of his playing transcends any genre of music!
Flutist Dave Valentin in my opinion is on point throughout this effort as he manages effortlessly the art of entertaining and drawing the listener into the fabric of the quality of his music at once. With tracks like the innovative “Sambiando,” and the percussive rhythms of “Shamballa” are both symbolic of Valentin’s infinite tapestry of great music. Finally, the last two compositions on “Piper” you’ll find the colorful Afro-Rican flavored “Los Altos,” quite appealing. Therefore, the accessible “Dragonfly” affirms its footprint on this spirited template of music was masterfully collated and performed by Dave Valentin and friends.