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Dave Valentin benefit, Ella celebrated, Harlem Jazz Shrines Fest

Ron Scott | 1/10/2013, 12:52 p.m.

Dave Valentin is a Grammy Award-winning flutist who bridges the gap between Latin and jazz music, and for good measure, sometimes he adds a little R&B and pop. On May 7, the "Dave Valentin Benefit Tribute Concert: Salsa Meets Jazz Revisited," will help Valentin meet his continuing financial obligations after suffering a stroke during a performance at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis on March 3.

The benefit will take place at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., in the West Village. Musicians featured will be an all-star cast of Valentin's many friends, including bassist Andy Gonzalez and Manny Oquendo's Libre with saxophonist Sonny Fortune and trombonist Steve Turre.

Although the flutist will not be able to perform, his music will be swinging with trombonist and bandleader Papo Vazquez and his Mighty Pirate Troubadours and vibraphonist Dave Samuels of the Caribbean Jazz Project. The Dave Valentine Band will also perform, featuring Bill O'Connell, Ruben Rodriguez, Robby Ameen and surprise guests.

Felipe Luciano and Mark Ruffin will act as the masters of ceremonies.

Le Poisson Rouge sits on the popular turf of the former Village Gate, which was opened in 1958 by Art D'Lugoff. The Gate featured everyone from John Coltrane to Aretha Franklin, Herbie Mann and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. In the 1960s, it became the place for Latin on Monday nights with hot salsa music. In 1977, WRVR jazz radio host Roger Dawson implemented a Monday night event he called "Salsa Meets Jazz," bringing together Latin bands with a guest jazz soloist.

May 7 will revisit those hot Monday nights, back when "Salsa Meets Jazz" kept listeners on the edges of their chairs and dancers swinging on their toes. As the music plays on, we wish Valentin a speedy recovery.

For more information, call (212) 505-3474.

Ella Fitzgerald, the "First Lady of Song," the lady who took scatting to another dimension and the only lady who could sing the wrong lyrics to a song and make it sound even better, would have celebrated her 95th birthday on April 25.

In honor of this renowned singer's phenomenal career, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem will be celebrating her birthday with events throughout the month of May at various locations. On May 8, the museum's monthly series, "Jazz for Curious Listeners," will present "Ella at 95: An Evening of Ella on Film," with the museum's director, Loren Schoenberg. The event will take place at Maysles Cinema, 343 Lenox Ave., between 127th and 128th streets, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The rare film clips will trace her days singing with Nat King Cole, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra, among others.

On Saturday, May 12, there will be "An Afternoon With Ella Fitzgerald" from noon to 4 p.m. at the Jazz Museum Visitor's Center, 104 E. 126th St. The afternoon will consist of a variety of formats focusing on the "hows and whys" of Fitzgerald's great tenure, from discussions with singers, to multimedia examples of her work and live music. This is a free afternoon sure to swing with Fitzgerald's spirit.