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Bill Ortiz

Saturday, April 29th – 7:30pm
Bill Ortiz Quintet
jazz club! when lights are low…

Bill Ortiz, trumpet & flugelhorn
Howard Wiley, saxes
Matt Clark, piano
Marcus Shelby, bass
Sylvia Cuenca, drums

Major league trumpet player Bill Ortiz brings an all-star quintet
to Bird & Beckett tonight!

A San Francisco native, Bill took up the trumpet at age 10. Before long, he held the first trumpet chair in the San Francisco All-City Band, and by his mid-teens he was playing at local dances and clubs with a number of R&B and jazz groups, making for an early and varied start to his professional career. His horizons were broadened further during his college years with his study and participation in electronic and Latin music.

After high school, he joined the highly acclaimed Orchestra Batachanga, a young Afro Cuban group under the direction of percussionist/musicologist John Santos, leading to important tenures with Pete Escovedo, John Santos’ Machete Ensemble, and other leading latin bands in the Bay Area that put him on stage alongside such legendary musicians as Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Carlos “Patato” Valdez and Chucho Valdez.

It was during these formative years that Bill began to establish himself as a leading figure on the San Francisco scene, known for his creative solos and strong lead performances. This period included playing with Babatunde Lea’s latin jazz group, as well as a brief stint with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim with performances at the Monterey and Concord Jazz Festivals. It was also around this time that Bill played numerous times with Tito Puente on his west coast dates, as well as playing on four recordings with him.

In the early 1990s, Bill began a long and artistically rewarding tenure with Peter Apfelbaum’s Hieroglyphics Ensemble. This band recorded two albums for Antilles/Polygram Records and won Downbeat’s Critics Poll Award for “Big Band Deserving Wider Recognition.” The Hieroglyphics Ensemble also backed up the legendary jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, recording an album with him on A&M as well as performing with him at various festivals and club appearances. Toward the end of his stay with Apfelbaum’s band, Ortiz began working with R&B/Hip-Hop group Tony Toni Tone–both as a touring band member and featured soloist. He performed on five releases from the multi-platinum selling group, as well as touring the US, Canada and Europe. In addition, Bill performed with Tony Toni Tone on Janet Jackson’s “Alive” tour. With Tony Toni Tone, Bill appeared on such TV shows as “Late Night With David Letterman,”  “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brian,” “Showtime At The Apollo” and others. This exposure led to Ortiz recording with En Vogue, Souls of Mischief, Sheila E, TLC and Johnny “Guitar” Watson, among others. Following his stay with Tony Toni Tone, Bill Ortiz toured and recorded with the legendary Boz Scaggs, and began a long and fruitful association with highly acclaimed jazz vocalist Lavay Smith (with whom he still works), recording two albums and touring the US and Europe with the band.

In 1999, Ortiz recorded on the Carlos Santana’s smash single “Smooth,” joining his touring band in 2000 and staying with Santana for 16 years. His performances as band member and featured soloist took him around the world, from Europe to Japan and China, South and Central America, Australia and South East Asia. Highlights with Santana included a tour with music giants Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, both joining the group on the “Emissaries of Peace” tour. In addition to working with Hancock and Shorter, while touring with Santana Bill also performed with such artists as Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Taj Mahal, Eagle Eye Cherry, Angelique Kidjo, Anthony Hamilton and Michelle Branch. Other notable performances included playing at Super Bowl XXXVII, The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in 2002 and numerous appearances at Montreux Jazz Festival.

In 2009, Bill Ortiz released his debut solo album “From Where I Stand,” which charted on Billboard and garnered critical acclaim in the USA and around the world, and his 2012 follow up album “Highest Wish,” which blended hard hitting hip hop and soulful singing with his signature incendiary and emotionally charged trumpet playing. Joining him on this release are such conscious minded hip hop artists as Casual, The Grouch and Zumbi from the group Zion I, as well as Santana vocalist Tony Lindsey and the great singer Linda Tillery–featuring her spoken word performance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize speech.

Bill was featured at the North Beach Jazz Festival for the “75th Annual Tribute to Miles Davis,” joined by former Miles Davis alum Benny Maupin and master jazz vibist Bobby Hutcherson. Bill also presented a “New Perspectives of The Music of James Brown” performance at The California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, California.

Following his 16 year run with the Santana band, Bill has been an active freelance artist, including being a featured soloist on Cindy Blackman-Santana’s solo album entitled “Give The Drummer Some.” As a member of Anthony Paule’s Soul Orchestra, Bill has had the pleasure of playing at major festivals in the US and Europe. In 2022, Bill recorded a new album which in addition to showcasing Bill’s personal musical voice as a soloist, band leader and producer, enlists the talents of such great artists as Azar Lawrence, Dennis Chambers, Brian Jackson, John Santos, Marcus Shelby and many others. Bill also continues to be a contributor as band member and arranger for the renowned Glide Memorial Church, founded by the iconic Reverend Cecil Williams. Glide is a nationally recognized center for social justice, creating pathways out of poverty and crisis, transforming peoples lives with counseling, job training/creation housing and aid for the homeless. Every year Glide raises millions of dollars for these efforts.

$25 cover charge; cash please. Byob.

For a reservations, call 415-586-3733.
Reservations are only held until showtime.
Doors open at about 7:15 for the 7:30 show.

Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.

The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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