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November 2005

Dave Valentin
World on a String
HighNote Records

Dave Valentin's reputation rests for the most part on the many recordings that brought his Latino orientation to jazz-fusion and pop-oriented settings. World on a String, on the other hand, offers a feast of Afro-Cuban/Caribbean/Latin rhythmic concepts integrated with straightahead jazz.

Along with frequent teammates pianist Bill O'Connell, bassists Ruben Rodriguez or Lincoln Goines and drummer Bobby Ameen, all of whom have vast experience in both musical worlds, the flutist employs the exceptional Latino percussionists Milton Cardona, Richie Flores and Nicky Marrero. Their product is freshly compelling and often viscerally exciting, with the rhythms of the samba, mambo, street rumba, bolero, cha-cha and Yoruban bembe, all executed with an authenticity only performers of their backgrounds can provide.

Valentin occasionally showcases his beautiful low-register flute sound, as on the ballad "I Remember You," one of the album's two standards (he composed three of the tunes himself and O'Connell wrote four). His excellent solos on the faster tunes, however, demonstrate an individuality that defies category, including some boppish elements, some Latin components and, at times, emotion-laden growls. O'Connell offers fine postbop improvisations of his own, and special guest Ronnie Cuber, with his husky, fluent baritone, sets his own composition "Passion Fruit" on fire.

Originally published in November 2005
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