Michael Andre Ortega

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Vibraphonist Michael Ortega was already a renowned producer in the San Francisco Bay Area when he decided to write and record his first solo album. Starting in 1976 after meeting Roy Ayers at a San Jose…
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Vibraphonist Michael Ortega was already a renowned producer in the San Francisco Bay Area when he decided to write and record his first solo album. Starting in 1976 after meeting Roy Ayers at a San Jose concert, Ortega (a chef at the time) was taken under Ayers' wing and taught jazz by his new mentor. Ayers even helped him buy his first vibes, training the eager musician on the various aspects of the instrument. Ortega began to feel limited by the lack of appropriate amplification for the vibes, and soon began helping with the development of a vibraphone synthesizer interface. These efforts led to the creation of MIDI, a computer program that drastically changed the way music was performed and recorded. The new technology was not lost on Ortega, who became one of the loudest supporters of MIDI. Befriending musicians as legendary as Miles Davis, Grover Washington Jr., and Dizzy Gillespie, Ortega's promotion of MIDI also helped him spread his own name in the jazz community. Turning to the production side of the music industry, Ortega spent almost twenty years behind the boards. Working with artists such as the Doobie Brothers and Vitamin C, he gained valuable studio experience, mastering his trade until he finally decided it was time for his first solo album. Calling in many of his friends from the years in the industry, 2002's Man By the Bay marked his first solo recording in 26 years of music.