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Gary Valente

b. 26 June 1953, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Taking up the trombone as a small child, Valente was encouraged and tutored by his trombone-playing father.
In the early to mid-70s he undertook formal music studies at the New England Conservatory. During this period he studied with Jaki Byard and also made his first recordings with the NEC’s Jazz Repertory Orchestra. Since then, he has played and often recorded with important figures in the development of contemporary big band jazz. Among these have been George Russell, Carla Bley (from the start of the 80s into the mid-90s, appearing on two of this leader’s most notable albums, Fleur Carnivore and The Carla Bley Big Band Goes To Church,), Lester Bowie, and Chico O’Farrill. In smaller groups; Charlie Haden, Andy Sheppard, with musicians as disparate as Cab Calloway, Joe Lovano and Don Byron, with bass player Ed Schuller’s Eleventh Hour group (The Eleventh Hour and Snake Dancing), and with Mat Maneri.
In the late 80s Valente co-led a small band with tenor saxophonist Bob Hanlon and in 1994 teamed up with fellow trombonists Craig Harris, Ray Anderson and George Lewis to form Slideride, the group making its recording debut the following year. Other 90s engagements included George Gruntz’s Concert Jazz Band and Arvell Shaw’s Louis Armstrong Legacy Band. His late 90s outings with Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy and O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Big Band were especially rewarding. At the end of the decade Valente again worked with Bley and also formed a new quintet that included Lew Soloff. A vigorous trombone player, Valente has the power to overwhelm other frontline instruments in a small group setting, and is capable of making himself heard in even the most clamorous big band setting.

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