Featuring: The Campbell Brothers, Prime Time Funk, and Breathe
In February of 2009, Prime Time Funk co founder and bassist Ralph Ortiz died suddenly from pancreatic cancer. Shortly after Ralph’s untimely death his devastated, grieving band orchestrated the first “Remembering Ralph” concert. The 9 hour show was held at The Water Street Music Hall and it featured over 70 musicians from the Rochester music community.
The funds that were raised at that show helped to pay for all of Ralph’s medical and funeral expenses, as well as travel expenses to bring his mother, Josefina Ortiz, from Puerto Rico to Rochester for this first moving musical tribute. The event also funded the first scholarships given by “The Ralph Ortiz Memorial Fund”. The scholarships awarded in 2009 included one for $500.00 of music lessons at Northfield Music in Pittsford where Mr. Ortiz taught for 20 years.
There was also a $1000.00 scholarship awarded to a graduating senior from Ralph’s alma mater, Newark High School. The student who received the award went on to pursue music studies as a major at a college or university.
In 2010 and 2011, The annual Lilac Festival has been the host for this annual scholarship fund raising event. For this year’s event, the bands have donated their performance time and The Corn Hill Arts Festival will award a check for $2500.00 to The Ralph Ortiz Memorial Fund.
Ralph Ortiz was born in Newark, New York in 1956 and was a great friend to the Rochester music community as a music teacher and as a musician for many local and regional acts. Those bands included Chet Catallo and The Cats, Mother Freedom, Saratoga, and Cabo Frio just to name a few.
At one point Ralph was called “The King Of Groove” by 2012 Rochester Music Hall Of Fame inductee and Grammy award winning producer Jeff Tyzik.
Ralph was an extremely versatile musician having performed with such notables as Texas blues guitarist Sherman Robertson, Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermit’s, to The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
He appeared on the Arsenio Hall show with Cabo Frio and played at The Bravo Music Festival in Vail, Colorado. He performed at The Lionel Hampton Jazz club in Paris, France with Francine Reed and Sherman Robertson. He can be heard on soundtracks for HBO sports as well as on Donny Gerrard”s album entitled “The Romantic”
Undoubtedly, Ralph was most at home playing ‘thump to the bone” funk with Prime Time Funk.
Prime Time Funk has just released it’s second recording, entitled “Hear and Now” as a tribute to Ralph Ortiz. This recording will be available at this years “Remembering Ralph” celebration.