Best Live Jazz Performance

How the planet's greatest living Latin-jazz flutist made it in and out of town with barely a passing notice is one of those mysteries peculiar to South Florida. Indeed late this past winter Dave Valentin, woodwind-player extraordinaire, ascended the stage of Miami Beach's Van Dyke Café for two nights of soul-altering performances. During the February 27 and February 28 evening gigs, Valentin's musicianship propelled local talents Don Wilner (bass), James Martin (drums), and Mike Orta (piano) to higher levels of play. Switching back and forth between a variety of different flutes, both wooden and metallic, the Puerto Rican Bronx native offered his audience something closer to a quasi-religious cleansing than a passive listening experience. Valentin, who incorporated Afro-Cuban Yoruba chants to his introductions of classics like Mongo Santamaria's "Afro-Blue," whipped the typically sedate Van Dyke crowd into a whooping and hollering frenzy.


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