Home » Jazz Musicians » Nicky Orta

Nicky Orta

Nicky Orta was born on April 29, 1964 in Las Vegas, Nevada. As part of a musical family —- his father, Ernesto, is a guitarist, and his brother, Michael, is a pianist —- it was inevitable that Nicky would try his hand at a musical instrument. At age 11, his father asked him if he would like to play the bass and Nicky quickly discovered that he had an affinity for the instrument. He spent hours in his room copying bass lines from records. After a couple of years of playing by ear, Nicky was introduced to the brilliant and renowned instructor Vince Bredice with whom he studied for 12 years. In 1984 Nicky was offered a scholarship at Miami Dade Community College where he studied with UM alumnus Jorge Casas and filled the bass chair of the Top Secret Jazz Ensemble under the direction of John Georgini. This ensemble performed at the 1986 Montreux and North Sea jazz festivals. The Top Secret Sextet continued on as Ambassadors of Goodwill for a 5-week tour of Africa sponsored by the United States Information Agency. In 1986 Nicky was recruited on scholarship by the University of Miami. While there, he was part of the prestigious Concert Jazz Band under the direction of Whit Sidener. With the CJB, Nicky toured Italy for one month and recorded on their CD entitled Pandamandium. While at the university he studied with head bass instructor Don Coffman. During this time Nicky was a member of the jazz/fusion group, The Wave, which recorded two albums on the Atlantic Jazz record label.

In 1988, the Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval made his way to Miami and formed a group for a world tour that included Nicky on electric bass. This group appears on Sandoval's debut recording on the GRP label entitled Flight to Freedom.

Nicky's versatility with musical styles has enabled him to perform with many artists in a variety of genres. In the jazz idiom, he has performed/recorded with artists such as Randy Brecker, Othello Molineaux, Toots Thielemans, Mike Stern, Chick Corea, Paquito D'Rivera, Randy Bernsen, James Moody, Duffy Jackson, Danilo Perez, Carlos Averhoff, Nestor Torres, Horacio Hernandez, Sammy Figueroa, Gary Campbell, Roberto Perera, Dave Weckl, and many others. In the Latin/pop genre, Nicky has performed and recorded with a long list of artists that includes David Bisbal, Alexander Pires, Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Fernandez, Candido, and Israel "Cachao" Lopez.

In 1994, a recommendation by Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip landed Nicky an audition with Latin superstar Julio Iglesias, with whom he toured for seven years.

Read more


Primary Instrument

Bass, electric

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


Adjunct faculty at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Private instruction in-home: $40 per hour. Online lessons available. Information and prices on website: http://www.nickyorta.com/onlinebasslessons.html Also available for recording bass tracks online. Running Pro Tools 9. You can e-mail me to discuss your recording project.


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Cartoon Bebop

Self Produced


Just Chillin

Self Produced



Self Produced



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.