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Jazz Caliente: Remembering Dave Valentin

Bebeto Matthews
AP Photo
FILE: Flutist Dave Valentin and percussionist Camille Molina-Gaetan rehearse with the children of Opus 118 Harlem Center for Strings in New York, Monday December 1, 2003.

Latin jazz flutist Dave Valentin died March 8; he was 64.  I remember very well the first time I heard him play on his album "The Hawk."

Being a former flute player myself, I was naturally drawn to this album cover: flute, handsome young man, beautiful bird.

LP "The Hawk" 1979

It was 1979, and I was a volunteer producer at a small public radio station in the basement of a high school in Flint, Mich., hosting a late-night jazz show.  

I had never heard flute played like this.  

Valentin was a virtuoso, and the Latin jazz rhythms he played to were incredibly compelling.  

I became a fan for life; even when at times in his career, he catered to the "smooth jazz" and pop audiences.  Dave lifted those genres to another level.

Learn more about Dave Valentin fromNate Chinen's in-depth obituary

Here's Dave's treatment of Chick Corea's composition "Windows" from "The Hawk."

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. The program is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.