On today, I’m enthralled to showcase one of the most accessible artist on the contemporary and Latin jazz scene … flutist Dave Valentin. Artistically, Valentin’s swift poignant style and tonality ranks at the top as my favorite flutist on the planet. Consider this, his influences are the sensational Hubert Laws, Herbie Mann and Bobbi Humphrey. After diving into Mr. Valentin’s vast catalog of albums from his tenure at GRP, as well as pondering his recent offerings, it was undoubtedly a difficult task so I decided to pull off the shelve this week his classic live recording titled “Live at the Blue Note” 1988 on GRP Records. ~ The Urban Flux
Dave Valentin | Live at the Blue Note – [GRP, 1988] – The Weekend SpinAggressive and incendiary, yet also languid and sensitive, Dave Valentin’s Live at the Blue Note not only demonstrates this artist’s wide range, but the rich possibilities for the Latin jazz genre at large. Performing material from the pen of some of the great voices of his day, including Milton Nascimento’s “Cinnamon and Clove” and Dave Grusin’s “Marcosinho,” Valentin brings a variety of both well- and lesser-known compositions to the table. All are treated with sensitive individuality, ranging in style from three-fourths samba to rhumba to funk, all performed expertly.
This is thanks, no doubt, to the A-list players on the date, including premier Afro-Cuban drummer Robby Ameen, conga virtuoso Giovanni Hidalgo, the brilliant Lincoln Goines on bass, and Latin jazz staple Bill O’Connell on piano and keys. To the modern listener, this 1988 date might sound dated at times, thanks primarily to the compressed, fat tone of the recording, and the occasional yet liberal application of processors on the part of Valentin. It is because of these considerations that Valentin enthusiasts are no doubt thankful that this is a live recording, and hence dodged some of the era’s greater production sins. All things considered, Live at the Blue Note escaped the late-’80s virtually unscathed. Bursting with energy and stylistic innovation, this could be Valentin at his very finest. —Evan C. Gutierrez