Well known trumpeteer, Sal Ortiz, is the January Desert Review/NoCCA Artist of the Month. His trumpet playing, “Call to Post,” to open the Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo is heard annually by thousands, as is his music heard throughout the valley at different venues.
The Brawley local became inspired during his high school years by his BUHS band teachers, Mr. Gabaldon and Mr. Fishburn, and from the Santa Ana Winds youth band leaders, Mr. Cannon and Mr. Ward.
Ortiz began to realize his talent while on a European tour with the Santa Ana Winds youth band. He eventually had one more tour across the ‘pond’ and another up through Canada. He also was chosen to play lead for the Jimmy Cannon Valley Jazz band.
“Music, especially jazz, expresses creativity. Music and the arts are in me and it has made me a better person. I always have a tune in my head. Playing your horn makes you a little more “hip”, Ortiz said.
It was the Count Basie and the Buddy Rich Band that turned Ortiz on to jazz, although he also loves rock and roll with current favorites, Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse.
Although recently retired from the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, he has no plans to retire from playing the trumpet. He continues to sit in with Valley Jazz and with the NoCCA pit orchestra for musicals, plus he is often asked to play Taps at funerals.
Ortiz now enjoys giving back to the youth by being at high school band practices and helping the next generation.
“It is a great feeling seeing their eyes light up when they learn something they could not do before,” Ortiz said.