Born in San Francisco, California, Bill Ortiz took up the trumpet at age 10. His experiences in school included his being first chair trumpet in the San Francisco All-City Band. 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. During his college years, Bill began exploring electronic music and gained his first experience in Latin music.
In the early 1990’s Bill began a stint with the R&B/ hip-hop group Tony Toni Tone, as touring band member and featured soloist. Ortiz performed on 5 releases of this multi-platinum selling group, as well as touring the US, Canada and Europe. In addition to touring on their own, Tony Toni Tone also joined Janet Jackson on her "Alive" tour in 1993, as well as numerous TV appearances. This led to recordings with En Vogue, Souls of Mischief, Sheila E, TLC and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.
Following his stay with Tony Toni Tone, Bill toured and recorded the legendary Boz Scaggs, and began a long and fruitful association with highly acclaimed jazz vocalist Lavay Smith (who Bill still works with), recording 2 CDs and touring the US and Europe.
Presently, Bill is recording and touring with Carlos Santana, including his performances on the Grammy Award winning singles SMOOTH and THE GAME OF LOVE. In addition, he has been very active as a studio musician in Hip-Hop, R&B and jazz. In 2009 he released his debut album “From Where I Stand” that charted on Billboard as well as garnered huge success among critics and fans alike in the USA and around the world.
Currently Bill is in the process of recording the follow up to “From Where I Stand”. This project features many great artists and performers including guest vocals by hip-hop artist Zumbi from the Bay Area group Zion-I. The album is slated for release in early summer 2011.
Bill also spends a good amount of his time and energy with his involvement 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. It is this diverseness that Ortiz tries to bring to his own playing and recordings.