BEST PIANO MAN Mike Orta He's toured and recorded with Arturo Sandoval and alternated tracks with jazz legend Chick Corea. He's played with Paquito D'Rivera and in Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra. And his day gig is director of jazz studies at Florida International University. But most nights you can find him tickling the keys at the Van Dyke Café. Mike Orta is the solid backbone for any performer or ensemble who hits the stage, whether local chanteuse Rose Max or touring titan Toots Thielemans. But when it's Orta's time to turn a solo, the notes fly from his fingers in breathtaking order, a transcendent bop of ivory that leaves admirers agape, headliners upstaged, and bandleaders shaking their heads. Orta's amazingly creative improvisations and virtuosic technique have made for many memorable moments in Miami jazz.
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