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 in 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.
The dream quickly became a reality, surviving the inevitable personnel changes
that occur in any band, and becoming stronger with each change. The current and longtime lineup features Andy Calabrese on keyboards, Joe Chiappone on guitar,
Ron D'Angelo and Derrick Lipp on trumpets, Michael Edwards on baritone
sax and violin, and the incomparable Ronnie Leigh on vocals.
In 2009, tragedy struck when co-founder/bassist Ralph Ortiz died suddenly from
cancer. But, as if orchestrated by Ralph himself, bassist Ron France appeared
and has allowed the PTF dream to continue.
The band is currently recording its second CD as a tribute to Ralph. PTF's
deubt CD in 2001, Ready and Willing, was co-produced by Grammy®
Award-winning producer Jeff Tyzik, Principal Pops Conductor for the
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
In its 14 years, Prime Time Funk has played the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club in
Paris as well as the Rochester International Jazz Festival, and 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 more in demand than ever. Audiences eat up the chemistry on stage, dance like theres no one watching, and appreciate that theyre hearing extraordinary musicians who truly live up to the name Prime Time Funk.
PTF News: Prime Time Funk's new CD 'Hear and Now' has just been released!
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2 Reviews for Prime Time Funk
Recommended by 96% of couples
7 User photos
Laura · Married on 07/01/2017
This review is long overdue! We have no words for how amazing Prime Time Funk is and how incredibly talented they are as musicians. Our guests were absolutely blown away, as were we! We loved working with Jim to plan everything and are so grateful to the band for everything they did to make our day so incredibly special. The our guests were on their feet the whole reception and Jim was right in the middle of everything keeping the party going. Thank you for giving us the best night!Sent on 01/20/2018
Megan · Married on 08/19/2006
Prime Time Funk is an amazing band based in upstate New York. The leader, Ronnie Leigh, is an amazing singer and really got the crowd going. My guests kept saying, "you really know how to throw a party!" and it was definitely all thanks to the band. The band learned our special-request first dance song and did very well with it, though they were less willing to learn a ton of other new songs.Sent on 11/15/2006