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Bobby Valentin, Mind of a Master

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One of the most iconic images of the Tropical/Salsa genre has been the fiery fingers of BOBBY VALENTIN attacking the fretboard of his electric bass, whether behind the mincing and grinding Tito Rodríguez, in a darkened corner of the stage where Charlie Palmieri’s explosive band was playing, or in an ensemble with Ray Barretto. From 1969 onwards Mr. Valentin brought his unique creative and beguiling magic to bands that he led, often switching to trumpet or flugelhorn, both instruments he mastered in his childhood in Puerto Rico long before he became known as one of the greatest Fania Record Label artists. By the time he left Fania (1975) to light out on his own, he had attained almost mythic status as a bassist who made significant contributions to the literature of Salsa and Latin-Jazz beginning in the early 1950s and continuing more than fifty years.

Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Mind of a Master
A byword for commitment, conviction, and relentless clave, Bobby Valentin was a mentor to more several generations of talent through the unstoppable juggernaut of his evolving band – currently incarnated as The LJs. Inspired by the leader’s example and propelled by the thunder of his rippling melodic lines, counter-rhythmic bass lines, Mr. Valentin’s LJs have absorbed the message of his fierce dedication to Salsa and Latin-Jazz and their place in it. Together they’ve come together to punch out these eleven masterpieces offering a feast of electrifying grooves that have turned some old and some lustrous new music into Latin-Jazz anthems reborn on this disc Mind of a Master. As the title might suggest, the music plunges the ear into the fecund musical well-spring that is Bobby Valentin.

Once again the fluency and complexity of Mr. Valentin and his bass-playing is set aflame on song after song rumbling right out of the gates on “De Nuevo a la Carga.” As the record progresses Mr Valentin creates his legendary orbit around which his remarkable musicians also set their course to re-establish once again that Mr Valentin is a musician of special significance who, at 76 years of age, stops at nothing to fashion from his finely tuned art a unique expressive voice that continues to open new doors into the realm of Latin-Jazz, adding mighty melodies to its library as well as re-casting old ones – such as “El Cumbanchero” and even the legendary Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” – into a brilliant new spotlight with his elegant playing on bass and, in the case of the latter song, on flugelhorn as well.

Tracklist – 1: De Nuevo a la Carga; 2: Latin Gravy; 3: Orocoa; 4: Smooth Ride; 5: Blast Off; 6: Coco Seco; 7: El Cumbanchero; 8: Mellow Funk; 9: Endless Love; 10: Freedom; 11: God Bless the Child

Personnel – Bobby Valentin: bass and flugelhorn (11); Eliut Cintron: trombone; Angie Machado: trumpet; Angel Luis Torres: alto saxophone; Eduardo Zayas: piano; David Marcano: drums; Javier Oquendo: congas; Guest Musicians – Ivan Renta: tenor saxophone (solo 5, 11); José Nelson Ramirez: Hammond B3 (11); Orlando Santiago Strings (11)

Released – 2018
Label – Bronco Records
Runtime – 47:23

ABOUT BOBBY VALENTIN

Bobby Valentin was a true talent who, over the course of his musical career, demonstrated a surprising mastery of the instruments he played, which included the bass, guitar, saxophone, and trumpet. He also made a name for himself as a consummate arranger. These qualities were recognized by Johnny Pacheco, who at the time was the director and producer for Fania Records. Pacheco decided to sign Valentin, making him the first act he would sign. The move turned Bobby Valentín into a senior member of the Fania family.

From the early stages of his career, his reputation as an exceptional musician cemented his position in the field. Artists such as Joe Quijano, Willie Rosario, Tito Rodríguez, and Johnny Pacheco himself entrusted him with their musical arrangements, which he often contributed to as a musician as well.

1965 was a transcendental year for Bobby Valentín. This was the year he produced his first album with Fania Records, demonstrating his enormous creative talent on the eight tracks he produced. Aside from building his own record company, he continued to participate in various recordings for the label, with which he solidified a brilliant and successful career. He made a name for himself among the most respected artists of the genre and on the international Latin music scene.

For more information about this artist visit Wikipedia here.

Canadian writer. Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a musician and an accomplished writer whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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