It was 1996 when veteran Rochester musicians James Richmond (sax, keyboard and vocals) and Ralph Ortiz (bass) started assembling their dream band. A funk band, of course, and – for once – there would be no compromises on musicianship or material. This would be Prime Time Funk.
One by one, they handpicked the rhythm section, starting with drummer Dave Cohen.
When they began recruiting the PTF horns, saxophonist Vince Ercolamento was their
first call. It wasn’t long before the dream became a reality –
but would it be too good to last?
Ten years later, PTF is still a dream come true – for those original four members as much as for the six “new” guys: Andy Calabrese on keyboards, Dave Wright on guitar, Ron D’Angelo and Derrick Lipp on trumpets, Matt Stuver on baritone sax, and the incomparable Ronnie Leigh on vocals. As for audiences, they eat up the chemistry
on stage, dance like there’s no one watching, and appreciate that they’re hearing extraordinary musicians.
A debut CD in 2001, Ready and Willing, co-produced by Grammy® Award-winning producer Jeff Tyzik – who also happens to be Principal Pops Conductor for the
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra – put the band on a much larger map. PTF
landed gigs at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club in Paris, and four years of prime
spots at the prestigious Rochester International Jazz Festival.
PTF has shared the stage with some of the world’s most respected funk, R&B, blues
and jazz acts: Earth, Wind & Fire; Medeski, Martin & Wood; The Brothers Johnson;
Tom Scott; Terrence Blanchard; The Temptations; Average White Band; Stanley Clarke; Lenny White; Larry Carlton; John Scofield; Sherman Roberston; and Francine Reed.
Between clubs, colleges, and corporate dates, and from festivals and fundraisers to private celebrations, this premier ten-piece powerhouse is in more demand than ever.