Valentine has been singing for years and fans of “Boston Legal” have heard his voice from the theme song to the credits.
Rhythm and blues are his favorites, but the audience in The Barn will also be enchanted with his renditions from the “Great American Songbook.” Valentine is a big fan of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke pieces, too, and has been influenced by Otis Redding, Nat King Cole and Carmen MacRae.
“I’ve been singing all my life. I’m from a big family — 13 children — and we always had a little competition,” he said. Valentine is from Beckley, W.Va. and his father worked in the coal mines until they moved to Columbus, Ohio.
There, his father, who was always interested in music, bought and opened a night club. It was a family club and became quite successful, Valentine said.
Valentine and his brother, John, formed the duo, The Valentine Brothers. They still occasionally work together, he added.
While this year will be his first appearance at the jazz fest, he has been coming to Idyllwild for years.
“I love the hikes and the community,” Valentine said about Idyllwild. He’s seen the bark beetle devastation and was concerned about the threat the Mountain Fire posed.
Festival Artistic Director Bubba Jackson recruited Valentine, who was anxious to return to his familiar haunt and perform here.
But similar to many great jazz performers, Valentine also has a huge following in Europe. He travels frequently to London and plays in the clubs there.
His popularity there began in the 1980s when an English group, Simply Red, performed a song, “Money’s Too Tight (To Mention),” which Valentine and his brother had written and originally recorded here on their album. The Simply Red version became a number one record throughout Europe.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for jazz in Europe,” Valentine said. “They treasure it.”
His current project is a tribute to the great music of English songwriters — The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Elton John. “I’m doing it in my own style, with r&b foundation,” he said.
Valentine sings in the barn at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18. Accompanying him are Stuart Elster, piano; Alphonso Johnson, bass; Lee Spath, drums; and Jimmy Roberts, saxophone.
Category: On The Town