Brooklyn-born flutist Dr. Jessica Valiente holds a B.A. in music from Barnard College in conjunction with Manhattan School of Music, an M.A. in music performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College, CUNY) and a D.M.A. in music performance from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is a 2014-2015 recipient of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation on charanga entitled: “Siento una Flauta: Improvisational Idiom, Style, and Performance Practice of Charanga Flutists in New York from 1960 to 2000.”
A conservatory-trained classical musician, she began to expand into jazz improvisation and studies of traditional musics from all over the world about 10 years into her classical performance career. Her musical interests reflect her family's mosaic heritage, including African-American traditional and popular styles, music of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and indigenous music of both North and South America. She specializes in Afro-Cuban and other Latin styles, Brazilian choro, and straight-ahead jazz, and performs on traditional Native American style courtship flutes and the Andean quena as a soloist.
Her debut in the Latin music scene came when she took over the flute chair in the conjunto of legendary mambo/pachanga-era bandleader, Orlando Marín, while also frequently performing with the critically-acclaimed bilingual Spanish/English theater company, Teatro Pregones.
During these years, she also maintained her position in the world of early music (her first love), performing on recorders and renaissance flute with the internationally-renowned bilingual Italian/English commedia dell'arte troupe, I Giullari di Piazza.
Today, Dr. Valiente is known primarily as the musical director of Los Más Valientes, the salsa and Latin jazz ensemble that she has been directing since 1995. Together, she and her band have produced and released three CDs on the Laughing Buddha label, and one on the 706 Music label, all of which have received wide critical acclaim. She also performs on flute and piccolo with the Brazilian choro ensemble, Choro Down Neck, while staying in touch with her classical music roots, as flutist with the chamber ensemble Trio Non Sequitur, recorderist and baroque flutist with the Fieldstone Early Music Ensemble, and principal flutist with The Colour of Music Festival Orchestra. She has had a long career as a private teacher, and has taught music at Brooklyn College, John Jay College, Baruch College, University of Bridgeport, New School University, Mercy College, and the John J. Cali School of Music of Montclair State University.