BAND LEADER, LEAD TRUMPET
Born in San Francisco, CA; Bill is a Nica-Rican with a strong musical background in his family. He feels fortunate and proud to be the grandson of the late Carmelito Velez, a pioneer cuatro player on the west coast.
After many years of inspiration he began his musical journey at the age of 8, playing trumpet in the school jazz band, and taking lessons from Stan Kenton alumni: Mike Vax. His first gigs were playing R&B/Top 40’s with the “Xecutive Sweet" at the age of 15.
He got his first experience playing salsa when his uncle, Rick Rangel, approached him to play for Orquesta Radiante. After a few years the band broke up and he began a four year stint with “Pe Pe Y Su Orquesta Peru”, where he was able to record a CD and make a couple of appearances on the “Univision” program - “Caliente”.
In the late 90’s, Bill Ortega Sr. took the reigns of Orquesta Borinquen and Bill Jr. followed shortly after to begin their latest journey. With the help of many great musicians Borinquen has become a Bay Area favorite. He picked up timbales along the way and can help the band at either position. He helped arrange some of the songs with piano player Marco Montoya on Borinquen’s first CD: “El Trombonista”.
Bill has been able to share the stage with various acts such as: Roberto Roena, Hector Tricoche, Melocochita, Grupo Niche, Grupo Gale’, Sonora Carruseles, Oscar D’Leon, Victor Manuelle, and Oro Solido.