Valentin at the World Music and Dance Centre, March 2008
|David Joseph Valentin|
April 29, 1952|
South Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Died||March 8, 2017
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Latin jazz, smooth jazz, salsa|
|Labels||CTI, GRP, Highnote|
David Joseph Valentin (April 29, 1952 - March 8, 2017) was an American Latin jazz flautist.
Valentin was born to Puerto Rican parents in The Bronx in New York City. He attended The High School of Music & Art. He learned percussion at an early age, and by 10 was playing conga and timbales professionally. When he was 12, he began to practice the flute so he could get to know a girl in school who played the flute, Irene Cathcart. 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 several years Valentin served as musical director for Tito Puente's Golden Latin Jazz All-Stars, and also toured with Manny Oquendo's conjunto group Libre. In 2000, he appeared in the documentary film Calle 54 performing with Tito Puente's Orchestra. 
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 2012, Valentin had a stroke which left him partially paralyzed and unable to perform. In 2015 he suffered a second stroke, and worked to overcome his disabilities in an extended care facility.