Legendary Saxophonist, Anthony Ortega, dies at the age of 94

Anthony Ortega was a jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, and flutist from the United States. He worked with Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Tony Bennett, Tony Orlando, Marvin Gaye, and Quincy Jones, among others.

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American jazz clarinetist Anthony Ortega passed away at 94

A person who spend his life in music career of more than 70 years, Anthony Ortega accomplished practically everything imaginable, including hosting a weekly Sunday jam session into his mid-90s, until his health started to fail in August.

Anthony Ortega 2

Both Kathy Ortega and Tony Jr., Ortega’s children, are in wonder of how devoted their father was to music—both on and off stage—and to his family. Tony Ortega Jr., Kathy Herrington, Lisa Ortega, and Kim Backus are Ortega’s children, he is also survived by his wife, Mona, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Family and colleagues give tributes to Anthony Ortega

“He was always practicing at home, always improving,I hope people will listen to his albums and — because he was so good — ask: ‘How come he wasn’t famous?’ But his dedication was to the music, not to trying to become a star.”

Tony Jr.

“Tony was a master,” “He was a true improviser, both completely rooted in the tradition, essentially linear, and yet completely free in his playing,” Dresser said. “He had an expansive sound … rhythmic vitality, and a willingness to dig into the sonic corners of where the music took him. He was remarkable.”

Mark dresser

Early Life

Anthony Ortega was born on June 7, 1928 (age 94 years old at the time of death) in Los Angeles, California, U.S. He holds an American nationality and his zodiac sign is Gemini. He belongs to the black race.

At the Penguin jazz club in Oslo, Anthony Ortega met his future wife, pianist and vibraphonist Mona Rbeck, they married later that year. The couple wed and this year marked their 69th wedding anniversary.

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They afterward started working together professionally in music. In 1954, they relocated to El Monte, then two years later, to Hollywood. Before moving to Encinitas in northern San Diego County in 1975, they moved to Lake Tahoe in 1960 and Azusa in 1965.

Together, the two gave birth to a daughter named Kathy and a son named Tony Jr.

1947 – 1964

Anthony Ortega and Earle Spencer played together in 1947. He served in the United States Army from 1948 to 1951. He joined Lionel Hampton’s band, which toured Europe. During that time, he also made recordings with Milt Buckner, Gigi Gryce, Art Farmer, and Norwegian musicians in Oslo in 1954.

In 1958, he moved back to Los Angeles and began working with the Lighthouse All Stars, Claude Williamson, and Paul Bley. He performed primarily in the Southwest and California in the 1960s, contributing to soundtracks for movies including The Pawnbroker (1964).

1995 – 2021

In 1965, he collaborated with Don Ellis and Gerald Wilson, and in 1968, he did so with Lalo Schifrin. He began touring globally with Quincy Jones in the early 1970s and continued to collaborate with Wilson throughout the 1980s.

Gloria’s music was created by Ortega and starred Gena Rowlands in the 1980 film. Along with Tommy Tedesco on guitar, he can be heard playing throughout the entire film.

In the 1990s, he frequently recorded and went on tour in Paris. He continued to provide regular performances at Mr. Peabody’s in Encinitas, California, as of October 2021.