New Latin jazz album produced by José Valentino & his students at Lee University. "Ahora Más Que Nunca (featuring Benny Maldonado, Robert Acevedo, Jim Walker, & Jesse Pitts." Album available on iTunes, CDBaby, and Amazon.
Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, educator, & composer, José Valentino, returns to the recording studio to document a set of nine original compositions & two arrangements with the impetus to create a musical manifesto encouraging Latinos around the world to embrace, celebrate, and showcase the richness and beauty of their cultures; hence the title, "Ahora Más Que Nunca." There is much to celebrate about being a Latino, especially when residing in the United States of America. Ahora Más Que Nunca (Now More Than Ever) encourages Latinos to flaunt their God-given strengths, talents, competencies, and artistic expressions, as well as their love towards others in order to tear down any cultural misconceptions that would otherwise impede the unification of our nation.
The album commences with "Celebración," a tribute to the legendary Latin jazz flutist, Dave Valentin, whose music was a profound influence on Valentino's musicianship. "Hot Cha-Chocolate" features a cool vibraphone & flute showcase, much like the music of Cal Tjader & Caribbean Jazz Project. "Somos Uno: Latin Jazz Suite" takes listeners on a vibrant musical journey synchronizing rumba genres (i.e., Mozambique, Guaguanco, & Yambu) with intricate melodies and fiery Latin jazz improvisations featuring Valentino (flute) and Jim Walker (piccolo); two musical forces of the flute who teamed up to pour out a powerful expression of 'unity in the midst of diversity.' Afterwards, the project transitions to a jolly composition with a danceable groove, percussive flute soloing, and a syncopated melody with "Las Cosas Complicadas." The music takes a restful turn with a gorgeous rendition of Beny Moré's "Como Fue" with the flute emulating the sound of the human voice when singing. Suddenly, the musical adrenaline kicks in with "Adrenalina" featuring a prowess performance by Benny Maldonado who recorded all the percussion and Valentino on flute, soprano saxophone, and bass guitar. The title track, "Ahora Mas Que Nunca" is a bata-drumming piece performed solely by Valentino; the interplay of the various drums and auxiliary percussion evokes the mandate for listeners to rise up and pursue their purpose in life. Valentino then chooses to relax a bit and plays just the bass guitar on a funky-fied rendition of Consuelo Velazquez's "Besame Mucho" which features two of his Lee University faculty colleague's - Nathan Warner (flugelhorn) and Alan Wyatt (tenor saxophone) - and Cienna Alida on vocals. Currently residing in Cleveland, Tennessee, Valentino teamed up with his student, Robert Acevedo Jr. who displays his Puerto Rican heritage on percussion with "Dos Boricuas en Tennessee." Then, Valentino plays a heartfelt melody imbedded with accompaniment that is rather dark and gritty to capture the essence of the neighborhoods he has worked in as a missionary with "El Barrio." And finally, the album concludes with a strong composition that evokes a feeling of Latino strength and pride with snarky improvisations on "Te Estoy Velando."
All in all, this album is sure to entice Latin jazz music lovers to reminisce, dance, laugh, cry, and celebrate. "Ahora Más Que Nunca" has music for everyone. Valentino carefully selected four musicians - three percussionists and one flutist [i.e., Benny Maldonado, Robert Acevedo Jr., Jim Walker, & Jesse Pitts] - to guest solo throughout the album - due to their profound friendships cultivated over the years; friendships that began as mentor-to-mentee relationships. Flute and percussion solos prevail throughout the album purposefully to represent the indicators of human life - heartbeat (percussion) and breathe (flutes). It is an album that celebrates the history, currency, and future of the genre of Latin jazz, as well as the people and cultures that have made it to be what it is today. For more information, visit: www.josevalentino.com.
Artists: José Valentino, Benny Maldonado, Robert Acevedo, Jim Walker, & Jesse Pitts
José Valentino (flute, tenor & soprano saxophone, upright & electric bass, marimba & vibraphone, bata drums, keyboard)
Benny Maldonado (percussion)
Robert Acevedo (percussion)
Jim Walker (piccolo, alto flute, bass flute)
Jesse Pitts (drum set, percussion)
Bruno Miranda (piano - track 8)
Jonathan Thomas (drums - track 10)
Alan Wyatt (tenor saxophone - track 8)
Cienna Wesley (vocal - track 8)
Nathan Warner (flugelhorn - track 8)
Darius Hairston (electric guitar - track 8)
Yassel Puppo (keyboard, piano, upright bass - track 5)
Composer: José Valentino (All songs except tracks 5 & 8)
Arranger: José Valentino & Yassel Puppo (track 5), José Valentino & Cameron Ball (track 8)
Producers: Tito Ruiz, Giovanni Pérez, Jalil Mohammed, José Valentino
Editing/Mixing Engineers: Eduardo Jaramillo, Jessie Romero
Mastering Engineer: Bruno Miranda
Artwork: Chike Joseph Okwudiafor, Guillermo Maldonado
Album Notes: Cortney Ruiz, Sandra Resto-Ruiz
Recorded: Lee University School of Music
Record Label: JV Music Enterprises LLC.
Dr. Ruiz and his three students - Victor Johnson, Ryan Williams, and Jay Newsome - are recipients of THREE 40th Annual DownBeat Student Music Awards! This makes a total of 45 DownBeat Student Music Awards for Dr. Ruiz, which is a record! His students were recognized for their achievement in Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist and Engineered Studio Recording categories. They are featured in the 2017 June issue.
To the Bahamas!!! José Valentino headlined at a stellar jazz festival in the Bahamas, gave a master class at University of Bahamas on 'music business & entrepreneurship', and worked with students to give a fiery concert with high school all-star band.
José to perform a concert and gives workshop on music to exciting youth camp in south Georgia
Dr. José Valentino Ruiz gave a spirited performance on March 12, 2017 at NCCOG. In his composition, "Jesus Makes Me Happy", he performed flute, saxophone, and bass. #tjflutes #tjsaxes #yamahabass
Exciting new Latin jazz album with Alexey Martí featuring José Valentino & Weedie Braimah. In addition to being a featured artist, José served as co-producer for the project! Album available on iTunes, CDBaby, and Amazon.
Concert in Cleveland, TN (North Cleveland COG) with José Valentino & Crossmatch Vamp
Dr. Jose Valentino appears on the renowned FLUTE TALK Magazine (January 2017 Issue) promoting Trevor James Flutes! Jose is a proud endorser of Trevor James Flutes! Visit www.tjflutes.com.
José Valentino performed at The Midwest Clinic with the renowned Caliente ensemble under the direction of Mr. José Diaz (2017 GRAMMY® nominee for Best Music Educator), alongside the iconic flutist, Jim Walker, and legendary 95-year old Cuban percussionist, Candido Camero --- his musical trajectory is truly that of an innovator of Cuban & Jazz & Popular music. Mr. Camero is a NEA Jazz Master recipient & the 2016 Midwest Medal of Honor recipient.
At The Midwest Clinic, José world-premiered his original composition, "We Are One" for Big Band --- a piece that navigates through three rumbas (Yambu, Guaguanco, & Mozambique), merengue, fused with contemporary classical melodies and sections for fiery improvisations. Special thanks to Giovanni Perez who assisted with the adaptation for the ensemble. José also performed with Candido Camero on Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca." #musiceducation #latinjazz #GRAMMY #LatinGRAMMY #ourstudentsarethefuture #daretodream #chaseyourdreams
Stellar Christmas music presentation by Lee University ensembles, faculty, including a Latin Jazz version of "Gloria" performed on flute by Dr. José Valentino Ruiz for the 2016 Christmas Chapel.
José Valentino invited as a Featured Artist for the 26th Annual Christmas Keyboard Festival alongside world-renowned arranger (PRISM) and producer, Bradley Knight, and more at First Assembly of God in Ft. Meyers, FL.
José Valentino is the Featured Artist of December for FOR BASS PLAYERS ONLY. Click link to read the full interview!
Exclusive interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
November 30, 2016
Classically trained flute player – and Grammy-nominated bassist!– is preparing the next generation of music professionals!
Dr. José Valentino Ruiz is a two-time Grammy-nominated artist, composer and producer. Trained as a classical flute player, José is also highly proficient on saxophone, as well as electric and upright bass.
Dr. Ruiz is the recipient of forty-two International Downbeat Student Music Awards in a multitude of categories. He has also collaborated in various capacities with many internationally known artists, including Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera, Phil Ramone, Hubert Laws, Jonathan Butler, Aaron Neville, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Alex Acuña, Abraham Laboriel and many others.
In 2015, his album, I Make You Want To Move, was nominated for a Grammy award in the “Best Latin Jazz Album” category. In 2016, José received another Grammy nomination, this time for “Best Instrumental Album,” for his work as Mastering Engineer on Bruno Miranda’s Mosaico.
A passionate educator, Dr. Ruiz is a music business professor and electric bass professor at Lee University in Cleveland, TN.
FBPO: Nice to have you here, but … aren’t you a flute player?
JVR: My primary instrument is flute, but my father plays bass and introduced me to a whole bunch of bass players, so bass has become an equal instrument to the level of my playing for the flute.
FBPO: How would you describe your musical upbringing?
JVR: I would describe it as multi-faceted. Through the age of 8, I did formal training in classical. At the same time, my father had a local band that played funk and Latin music, so he was teaching me how to improvise by ear.
FBPO: Are you talking about the flute?
JVR: No, I’m talking about all instruments. I grew up as a multi-instrumentalist. That’s another part of my upbringing where he really taught me how to play multiple instruments to learn about music, learn about composition and how to establish my own voice and also be equipped to play in multiple settings. So, [I had] classical training, of course, but also improvisational. And then in high school, I was exposed to straight-ahead jazz, to Miles Davis, for the first time, and Chick Corea.
FBPO: What attracted you to the bass?
JVR: My father. My father is an artist, but he also plays bass and he, to this day, is my back-up bass player. I do a lot of solos and songs and I lead with bass, but I also have a band where I have two bass players and he’ll provide the foundation so I can play chords and harmony and that sort of thing, as opposed to solo guitar.
What attracted me to the bass is the ability to serve people. As a musician, not only do I want to serve my audience, but I also want to serve those who are taking the time to make [me realize] my dreams and my ideas as a songwriter, with a message of hope, wanting to make it come alive. So by playing the bass, I get to enjoy the unique talents of everybody else without having to dictate all the time. It’s more of a service kind of thing that, initially, [is] why I was attracted to the bass. My father introduced me to the music of Victor Wooten and Jaco and John Patitucci. Those are the ones that I really started off with.
FBPO: Congratulations on your Grammy nomination. Did that surprise you?
JVR: You know, it was a really nice, humbling thing. I had no idea about what all that entailed. I heard that you could submit [an entry] if you become a member of the recording academy, and I did. And I totally believe in the music that I did and in that album, I mean, I was the bass player, I was the saxophonist, I was the flutist, I composed eight out of the twelve compositions and arranged the other four. It was a celebration of Latin American music in which I utilized a bass that my father made. He makes electric upright basses, you know, baby basses, and so I used the basses that he made and also demonstrated the versatility of Latin jazz bass in so many different styles, twenty-plus styles of sub-genres within the field of Latin American music. I did it on a four-string, on the fretless and on the upright acoustic.
My music is on the Wyn bass, actually. I went to NAMM and I played one song and, by the grace of God, Randy Wyn Fullmer, the bass designer – he does basses for Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson’s brother, Abraham Laboriel and Jimmy Haslip, so he’s got them on the roster, among others – he gave me a bass, and it was really cool. So I told him, “I want to make something for you,” and I was able to compose music to help him out for his website because he makes brilliant basses. In the process, I used some of those compositions for this project, [for] which I ended up getting nominated last year.
FBPO: Tell me a little bit about your approach to teaching.
JVR: My biggest passion is really equipping students and offering them a relevant bass education because in most higher education [situations], most of the foundation is classical and, then maybe in the last semester, they get electric bass, if that. I’m able to teach both, but I really want to see these students not just develop as bass players, but also as songwriters and that sort of thing, and allow their bass to be an instrument to help their creative identity shine.
FBPO: What are some misconceptions you find in today’s students and how do you bring them down to reality as far as making a living as a working musician?
JVR: The misconception is that most people are happily shocked that the bass can do so many things, with all the innovations of the bass guitar, or even the upright bass. I think with the students, what we find is that with media like YouTube, people are always going first to try to play all the techniques – extended techniques, tapping, machine gun slapping – but they can’t play a simple bass line, a blues bass line, because they never focused on that. So it’s really getting back to the foundation. I think a lot of students have this kind of issue, you know, overplaying.
And so how does this tie in with having an established career, part of making them multi-faceted? Before I can expand their ability to play different styles of music and be prepared for any situation, whether it’s gospel or Indian music or whatever, it’s making sure they understand how to make other musicians feel comfortable enough to where if there was nobody else except for a bass player, that a sax player can feel absolutely comfortable doing a gig with just a bass player. But music students in general – and this includes bass students – are so concentrated on their art and in practicing that they forget, when it comes time to perform, to actually relate with the audience, communicate to the audience. Having public relations skills with the audience, and also with people in general, is important. How to get a gig.
Many times, college students become carbon copies of their teachers. Well, my philosophy when I teach electric bass is [that] I want you to sound like you. We’ll have some training on how to sound like Anthony Jackson or what’s the philosophy behind so many great bass players, going all the way back to John Lamb from Duke Ellington, and Charles Mingus, Ray Brown, but ultimately, it’s developing their artistic voice. And so we do that, not only by letting them know how to play and practice so many styles of music, but, in my lessons – and this also prepares them for the business side – whatever we’re learning, there are weekly assignments where I actually produce the music in my office. I have a recording studio entirely set up, so by the end of the semester, I’m making EPKs. I’m making basically five songs a semester for every bass student. That’s five songs of original music. We’re building their creative identity. Each song is representative of a different style and a different way of playing the bass, but it’s accessible enough to the general audience and challenging enough for the musician.
FBPO: I wish you were my teacher when I was coming up. That sounds great.
JVR: [Laughs] Well, you know, the times change. You just have to find ways for students to be able to learn quicker. I teach music technology here. That’s one of the courses I teach under the degree of music business, and so I incorporate that to help facilitate learning as well. If they’re good enough, if they reach that level, we can produce an album. And there are different competitions, maybe clinician opportunities with endorsement companies. The sky’s the limit.
FBPO: Tell me a little more about your equipment.
JVR: A play a Wyn five-string fretless and I play a Tune four-string that’s maple. I have an Ampeg bass amp, and I also like playing MarkBass and I have a Roland amp. I play Black Diamond strings.
FBPO: What do you like about Black Diamond strings?
JVR: Oh, that’s simple. I’m not a person who likes gimmicks. Not that every music merchant has gimmicks, but what I like about the Black Diamond strings is, first, I like the heritage. The heritage of the company extends back so many years, so there’s a history and I love to be a part of a story, even if I could only be a fragment of that story. I like history. I’m a nerd like that.
The second thing is, when I met with Jim Cavanaugh, I saw that he was relational. He really tried to connect with me. I’m a completely different generation than him. Culturally, I grew up differently, but he was able to be relational with me and I want to be part of a company that is relational and that could support my dream as much as I believe in their company.
Third, the family aspect of Black Diamond strings is huge for me because, whenever I need something, they’re there. If I have ideas, they’re there. And they really support my mission for education.
I would also add that what I love about Black Diamond strings is their durability. They just last longer and that’s why I like them. I like their flatwounds too. On my album, Soul Speaks: A Lyrically Soloistic Bass Project, I used four-string flatwounds. I played upright on it too, but the majority was four-string flatwound.
FBPO: What about the future? Where else would you like to channel all that passion and energy you have?
JVR: I want to channel that passion, honestly, Jon, toward the dreams of my students. I’m only 29 years old. The only reason I was crazy enough to do doctoral work as a performing musician who has that track record in the world of Latin jazz and jazz fusion is because I saw that my colleagues didn’t know, didn’t have a plan, didn’t have a vision for what they were going to do post-graduation. But they had all the talent in the world! And so I’m fortunate enough to be able to teach music business because one of the things I’ve always thought about is to try to be relational. Relationships are the currency of the kingdom. I tried to be relational even during my studies so that I got professional work while I was growing up, doing my education. And that has helped me prepare so that I built enough relations to where, on the weekends, and sometimes on the weekdays, I get excused and I can actually perform.
Really what I want to focus on is developing my bass students into becoming not just amazing bass musicians, but actual artists because a lot of them – and it’s just a phenomenon that’s occurred in this generation – a lot of them don’t just play bass. They play other things, they sing, and so channeling all that energy, I’m trying my best to prepare them with resources and with products so that they can establish themselves as artists or future music educators or other things like that. That’s where my energy is right now. And to continue to produce music with my bass students and other students that are within the Lee School of Music and make albums and submit them to different competitions, but let it be focused about them. Any future Grammy awards or stuff like that would be student-led projects where I’m facilitating, as opposed to just me doing my own thing to elevate myself. It’s not about that.
FBPO: What would you be if you weren’t a musician?
JVR: Without a question, I would be a member of the U.S. Marines.
Lee University, Cleveland, TN hosts a monthly Performing Artist Series. On 10/21/2016, Dr. José Valentino Ruiz was a featured artist/composer & arranger. His composition, "Cuban Cha Cha", a composition from "We Are One: An Exploration of Latin American Music" adapted for Big Band was premiered featuring Legendary flutist, Jim Walker.
All-Star Group performed at Lee University's Performing Arts Series: Legendary flutist, Jim Walker (Piccolo) speaks of his brief encounter with Miles Davis and pays tribute to the iconic jazz figure by performing his tune, "Solar." José Valentino performed as Music Director & Bassist, Bruno Miranda on Piano, and Jesse Pitts on Drums.
We are up for our 2nd Latin GRAMMY® nomination! Last year was for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year . . .this year it is for Best Instrumental Album of the year! Congratulations to Bruno Miranda (Artist) for his album, "MOSAICO!"
For the second year in a row, José Valentino (Mastering Engineer) is honored alongside his some of his best friends & colleagues - Renowned Pianist Bruno Miranda (Main Artist), Jesse Pitts (Producer), Carlson Barros (Producer), Jessie Romero (Mixing Engineer) for a nomination for a LATIN GRAMMY® AWARD, BEST INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR --- Bruno Miranda's "MOSAICO"! Award show will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Arena.
Jim Walker and José Valentino performed at The National Flute Association Convention in San Diego, CA. They performed at the Thursday night Gala Concert, Saturday night Cabaret, and Sunday afternoon Graduate College Flute Orchestra concert; August 11-14. The music premiered José's compositions from the new album and published play-along book, "We Are One: An Exploration of Latin American Music."
Dr. José Valentino appears at the renowned summer flute camp, "9th Annual Beyond The Master Class", as a guest artist and clinician; other artists included Denis Bouriakov and Emanuel Pahud. Clinic included discussions on developing artistic identity, improvisation and composition, recording arts, and music business.
José performs at the 2016 International Church of God General Assembly held in Nashville, Tennessee. His performances were held at Omni Hotel and Music City Center stadium!
José receives EIGHT 39th DOWNBEAT Magazine Student Music Awards including Winner for Jazz Soloist, Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist, Winner for Latin Group (x3), Blues/Pop/Rock Group (x2), and Winner for Studio Engineered Recording!
New Album Release - June 1st, 2016: Legendary Flutist Jim Walker and José Valentino's new world-music album, We Are One: An Exploration of Latin American Music, expands the definition of Pan-American music with sizzling meshes of jazz, Classical, folkloric rhythms from Africa, Latin America, Ireland, and the Middle East!
Congratulations to Dr. Jose Valentino Ruiz on his New Position at Lee University as Assistant Professor of Electric Bass, Music Business, and Music Technology!
The College of The Arts congratulates Dr. José Valentino Ruiz, who accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Music Industry at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. Dr. Valentino graduated with his Doctor of Philosophy in Music from USF in May.
A winner of 42 International DownBeat Student Music Awards, Dr. Valentino has collaborated with numerous Grammy-winning and internationally recognized composers. In 2015, Valentino and his group, the Latin Jazz Ensemble, were nominated for a Latin GRAMMY in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album for their creation “I Make You Want to Move.”
Dr. Valentino will teach electric bass and flute in addition to music classes pertaining to production, business, and entrepreneurship. He will have the honor of establishing Lee University’s first recording studio. Dr. Valentino expressed great enthusiasm for his new position on his official Facebook page, “There are some incredible things happening at Lee U School of Music that I have not seen in other schools.” He adds that he is “glad to be a part of the plan to help revolutionize the program.”
Associate Director and Associate Professor of Music Education Dr. David Williams is excited for Dr. Valentino to begin his higher education teaching career and utilize his diverse skillset, “Jose is an amazingly talented multi-instrumentalist and also an outstanding teacher and researcher with progressive ideas.” Dr. Williams knows that Dr. Valentino will represent himself and USF very well. He adds, “I expect to hear great things about his work over the coming years.”
The College of The Arts wishes Dr. Valentino well as he begins this new chapter of his life and congratulates him once again for all his achievements.
José nominated for a 16th Annual Latin GRAMMY® Award - Best Latin Jazz Album of The Year!!!