Oral History Information
Anthony Ortega was a mainstay on the west coast jazz scene beginning in the 1940s. Growing up in Watts, Anthony (known as Tony) went to school with and was exposed to many of the era's Los Angeles jazz musicians, including Charles Mingus. Playing sax, clarinet, and flute Tony went on to play and tour with Lionel Hampton’s Band in the early 50s. Eventually, he returned to the LA scene, playing and recording with Gerald Wilson’s band for many years. Even in his 90s, he continued to play a regular gig with his group in Encinitas, CA. One of the unsung heroes of the jazz world, Tony Ortega embodied the cool West Coast jazz style and was an inspiration to many to boot.