Which city has the best airport? And 17 other questions – silly to serious – with a Grammy winner and UF instructor.
20 Questions with: José Valentino Ruiz
Assistant Professor, UF School of Music, where, among other duties, he’s the head of Music Business & Entrepreneurship
In a field full of talented musicians, electrifying performers, creative producers, successful entrepreneurs and inspiring teachers, few people can be called all of those.
José Valentino Ruiz – player of the flute, saxophone, bass, piano and Latin percussion; recording engineer and featured artist for a Latin Grammy Award-winning album and three-time nominee for Best Jazz Album, Best Instrumental Album and Classical Contemporary Composition; Emmy Award-winning television music producer for Best Cultural Documentary; 52-time DownBeat music award winner (record holder), Sony Music recording artist with 72 albums and over 1,300 performances to his credit; and more – started performing professionally at 14.
With his father as bassist and manager, his José Valentino Band played at weddings, Sweet 16s, corporate functions, quinceañeras, local and regional jazz festivals, and restaurants in and around his hometown of Tampa. “I could gig Friday through Sundays if I kept up my grades,” says Ruiz, who went on to earn four degrees, including a doctorate in music, and has shared the stage with the likes of Chick Corea, Jim Walker, Aaron Neville and Poncho Sanchez.
He loves his job of equipping UF students for the ever-evolving music industry, and he shares his knowledge far beyond Gainesville. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, he’s presented at 13 universities on “Entrepreneurial Suggestions for Creative Professionals amidst COVID-19.”
“The global pandemic has changed many ways for delivering music-centric products and services, and it caused us to retreat to the ‘roots’ of what makes the field of music so special,” he says. “We must all continue to grow, search, discover and share the knowledge.”
He took time to answer 20 questions for Gator Nation News.
– Nicole Neal