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The death of the talented Dave Valentín is sad news for our community but not a surprise Dave had been ailing for a couple of years now and wasn’t able to perform.

David was a complete musician, he played percussion and his execution on the flute was unique. Like many artistic geniuses Valentín had a good sense of humor and was a practical joker. I never had the opportunity to share the stage with him musically but we would catch up with each other now and then and chew the fat. He was very proud of his Grammy and would show up to places with the actual award. The day I first met him was a salsa meets jazz Monday at the Village Gate a loooooong time ago, I walk into my dressing room and I see a pile of poo sitting in the middle of the room. I’m like … “WTF?” Suddenly I hear Dave’s roaring laughter, he picks it up in his hand; it was made of plastic…

Dave was very much loved and respected by musicians. Now the industry... that's another story. Too many times our cultural heroes are exploited and abandoned. The list of our aging colleagues who are in crisis is long. Every day there's another in need of assistance. While the industry and the media turn a blind eye.

When we’re young we choose things because we believe in them, these things are our calling and more important than anything else. Many of us grow to find that perhaps we were wrong. The business of living becomes a sobering reality that you can't live on love. A musical career can be an ungrateful mistress that will leave you on some lonely road.

Some will rationalize this sad truth with that dog eared cliché that “a great artist must suffer”.

At this point the least that we can do is take the embers of the genius and passion that Dave Valentín left us and really take a good look and honor his art.

God be with you Dave as you continue your journey.

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