Welcome To The Soul-Patrol
IT IS TIME TO CHANGE THE
CONVERSATION! (Bill Ortiz - Highest Wish)
There was once a time when hip hop provided us with the answer to a
question that we didn't even realize that we had. That's because we
didn't really think of it as a question yet. However by the time the
answer came along, apparently it was too late for the question or its
answer to have any meaning whatsoever.
Back in the 1995, trumpeter Branford Marsalis was probably the most
famous jazz musician in the country. As the bandleader of the "Tonight
Show." he had a successful nightly platform for his artistry. However in
1995 Branford announced that he would be leaving the show in order to
focus on a new project that would fuse together jazz, funk and hip hop.
He said that he wanted to help to bridge a generation gap that he saw
forming, and that he had a musical vision, that would not only fuse
together these musical styles, but also create a communications vehicle
for the fans of those musical styles.
That project was called "Buckshot LeFonque," and IMHO the two
"Buckshot LeFonque" albums released in the 1990's were two of the best
Black music albums of the decade, they were artistic masterpieces.
However the albums failed to reach their intended audiences. Other
attempts at a similar type of "fusion" in the early to mid-1990's from
artists such as Guru/Donald Byrd, Digable Planets, US3, Miles Davis/Easy
Mo Bee and others were artistic successes, by were commercially uneven,
never truly reaching their intended audiences. A whole musical "sub
type" called "Acid Jazz" focused on this fusion between jazz, funk and
hip hop, which proved to be quite popular in the UK, but never made a
real commercial impact in the United States.
The whole question of fusing together jazz/funk/hip hop was a legitimate one, from a
musical, cultural & audience perspective. The problem was that despite
all of the great music that was produced during this period, the "answer
to the question came about 5 years later than when the question should
have been asked in the first place."
When Branford Marsalis embarked on his quest, the reason he gave at the
time was that he felt that the music could be the basis for a vehicle to
open up an avenue for inter-generational communication, which could
avert a split in the Black community that had never existed before. He
said that he felt it was his duty to do what he could do to head off
what could possibly be a tragic "generation gap."
Despite the best of intentions, his idea was bound for failure. That's
because, unknown to him as well as the rest of us, with the acceptance
of "Gangsta Rap" as a lucrative/mainstream form of popular music, hip
hop (and its fans) would never look back and seek to be a part of the
continuum of Black culture. It would instead seek its own path and it's
fans would insist that it was "something new" and had no connection to
anything else. In fact it would have its own language, culture, dress
and attitude that would have nothing in common with anything else that
Perhaps a few of you out there remember this period of time?
Fast forward to 2012...
I say all of this to
say that the album Highest Wish, by Santana trumpeter Bill Ortiz harkens
back to the 1990's strain of thought that a generational bridge, with
music as a basis. To do this, Bill Ortiz reaches even further
back for a frame of reference, in using the late/great Gil Scott-Heron
to help provide some of the context.
Once again this is a very successful musical endeavor, much as the
musical efforts in the 1990's were:
--If you are a funk music fan, then you will love this album.
--If you are a jazz music fan, then you will love this album.
--If you are a hip hop music fan, then you will love this album.
This all goes without saying.
And of course you can check it out for yourself at:
However there is more.
IT IS TIME TO CHANGE THE CONVERSATION!
Everything that Branford Marsalis predicted back in 1995 has come to
Only it is far worse.
IT IS NO LONGER JUST A "BLACK PROBLEM."
The generational gap that Branford spoke of in 1995 is a universal one
that threatens the ability of our entire society to move forward. It is
now absolutely critical that younger people and older people find a
basis for common communication. Far too much knowledge is being lost,
and that lost knowledge contains essential facts that younger people
require, for their own survival.
The mid 1990's may in fact have been the wrong time to have the
conversation. Perhaps it should have been held earlier? I dunno. But I
do know that it needs to be held RIGHT NOW. Because with each passing
day the opportunity to have that honest conversation, drifts further and
Let's face it, most of today's hip hop fans likely know less about the
music of artists like Guru/Donald Byrd, Digable Planets, US3, Miles
Davis/Easy Mo Bee, Buckshot LeFonque and others than does GOP Vice
Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Although it may feel like it was just
yesterday to some of us, many of them weren't even born yet in the mid
90's. Therefore it is incumbent upon those of us who do know to:
CHANGE THE CONVERSATION!
We have to be willing to do the "outreach," we have to be willing to
take the time to expose younger music fans to music such as Highest
Wish, by Santana trumpeter Bill Ortiz. This is one of those kind of
things that if we care about, we have to be proactive about. If we want
younger people to care about our musical legacy, then we should care
enough to be willing to educate them about it.
(why not.put a little skin in the game?)
GO TO: http://bit.ly/PWYY3I
Still not ready yet?
Check out the press release below...
Press Release: Santana Trumpeter
Bill Ortiz Readies New Album Hip-Hop, R&B and Neo Soul "Highest Wish"
Featuring Many Special Guests
Listen up yall...
I have heard this album and I am not certain that the description
(Hip-Hop, Funk & Jazz) is accurate. (yet anther reason why I can't stand
"labels.") If you are a fan of what I would call "great black music from
the ancient to the future," then you might want to place this music into
a category called "game changer."
Here is a better description...
If you like artists such as: Donald Byrd, Gil Scott Heron, Digable
Planets, Roy Ayers, Public Enemy, Erykah Badu, Freddie Hubbard...
THEN YOU WILL DIG THIS MUSIC
Or if you like twitter hashtags
Stay tuned (more to come....)
Santana Trumpeter Bill Ortiz Readies New Album
Hip-Hop, R&B and Neo Soul "Highest Wish" Featuring Many Special
June 24th, 2012 (San Francisco, CA)-A longstanding member of the Santana
band, Bill Ortiz is proud to present his new full-length release titled
Highest Wish. A follow up to his "Winter in America" EP released earlier
this year, this new album project features conscious emcees such as
Casual, The Grouch, Zumbi (of Zion I) and K-Maxx, as well as fellow
Santana member (and 11 time GrammyR Award Winner) Tony Lindsey, and
iconic poet/vocalist Linda Tillery, featured with a spoken word
performance of Dr. Martin Luther King's Nobel Peace Prize speech.
"Carlos has always used music to inspire and bring people together,"
explains Ortiz. "I try to follow in that tradition. I've been really
inspired by some of the Bay Area hip-hop artists like Casual, Zumbi and
the Grouch who make music with enlightened lyrics," Ortiz adds of how he
chose his featured guests. "We often celebrate ignorance in our society,
so I wanted to celebrate consciousness." On his EP, which charted in
the top 10 on CMJ's hip hop charts for over a month, Ortiz covers Gil
Scott Heron and Brian Jackson's 1973 hit on the track "Winter in
America" as an homage to the recently departed Heron. The
concept video for this track has been featured on many mainstream
And while Ortiz is known over the past 12 years as the trumpeter with
Santana, he's been involved in the Hip-Hop and R&B movements for as long
as he's played music. He played trumpet on the classic hip-hop Souls of
Mischief album "93 til Infinity" and has worked and recorded with Tony
Toni Tone', En Vouge, Sheila E, TLC, among others. Born in San
Francisco, California, Ortiz began his mastery of the trumpet at age 10.
While in school he was first chair trumpet 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, giving him an early and varied start to
his professional career. His horizons were broadened even further during
his college years with his first exposure to electronic and Latin
In the nineties Ortiz began working with R&B/Hip-Hop group Tony Toni
Tone' as a touring band member and featured soloist. He performed on
five releases from the multi-platinum selling group, as well as toured
the US, Canada and Europe. He accompanied Tony Toni Tone' when they
joined Janet Jackson on her "Alive" tour and made numerous TV
appearances with them. This exposure led Ortiz to recording with
Destiny's Child, En Vogue, Souls of Mischief, Sheila E, TLC, Total, and
Johnny "Guitar" Watson, among others.
Following his stay with Tony Toni Tone', 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 CDs and touring the US and Europe yet again.
Presently Ortiz is recording and touring with Carlos Santana, work which
includes his performances on the GrammyR Award winning singles Smooth
and The Game of Love. In addition, he has been very active as a studio
musician playing Hip-Hop, R&B and Jazz. In 2009, Bill Ortiz released his
debut solo album "From Where I Stand," which charted on Billboard and
garnered huge success among critics and fans alike in the USA and around
the world. Bill Ortiz is endorsed by Shure microphones and more recently
by Rebel Spirit Clothing.
Bill spends a good amount of his time and energy getting involved in
music education, both as a clinician and private instructor. He enjoys
mentoring younger musicians and spreading the experiences and diversity
of his musical background, which he tries to bring to all of his own
playing and recordings.
"My musical upbringing contains a wide variety of styles, including
Jazz, Hip Hop, Latin, African, R&B/Soul, and Blues," he states. "What I
am trying to do with my musical voice is reflect all of those elements
of who I am as a musician and a person. I'm not a purist; I try to bring
all these elements of who I am musically into one voice."
Highest Wish drops on August 4th, 2012 direct to fans. The worldwide
digital and physical release is scheduled for September 4th, 2012.
For more information, please call Nicole Balin at Ballin PR at
323-651-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For Radio enquires contact Jessica Weber at Co-Sign via e-mail at
Jessica@co-sign.com (for college/community) and Myron Ruffin at
email@example.com (for commercial stations).
For Physical Distribution please contact Steffen Franz or Ben Lang at
Independent Distribution Collective at 415-292-7007 or via e-mail
For Digital Distribution please contact Jerome Forney at IDCDigital at
415-292-7007 or via e-mail at Jerome@independentdistro.com
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