Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Oppenheim, Richard (David)

Oppenheim, Richard (David), saxophonist; b. Chicago, IL, 27 September 1953. He grew up in Wilmette, IL with his parents (Albert, 1912-1961, and Joan [born Emma Jacobs], 1915-1981) and two older brothers (Michael, b. 1943, and Arnold, b. 1945). 

He studied guitar and had Orff training from about age 9-12, then took up alto saxophone at age 13.  Jazz was an important part of the curriculum at his high school, New Trier West, which produced others who later went on to active careers in music.  He studied under David Baker at Indiana University from 1971-1974, with training in classical saxophone technique with Dr. Eugene Rousseau (protege of Marcel Mule).  During that time, he appeared with Marvin Gaye (1974), Charles Mingus (1975), and Lonnie Brooks (1975, 1979).  He traveled the Southwest and recorded with Main Street People, an R&B band, in 1975, settling in New York in 1976.  From 1976-1982 he lived in lower Manhattan, recording with Gregory Alper, Ray Anderson, Louis BauzU, Patrick Brennan, Katchie Cartwright, Bill Goodwin, Mark Holen, Chuck Loeb, Richie Morales, Graham Moses, Bern Nix, and Danny Spencer.  During the late 1970s and 1980s, he performed with Paul Jeffrey (1977-78), Lionel Hampton (1977), Marshall Brown (1978), Mike Bloomfield (1978), Clifford Jordan (1978), Dennis Charles (1979), Otis Rush (1979), Mick Ronson (1979), Ian Hunter (1979), Foghat (1980), Johnny Winter (1981), Buddy Rich (1982), Isnard Douby (a Haitian compas bandleader, 1982), System Band (also compas, 1983), Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (1983), Jaki Byard (1984), David Johanssen (1985), Shelley Hirsch (1985), and Illinois Jacquet (1988).  In 1982, he married singer-flutist Katharine (Katchie) Cartwright.  Their daughter, bassist Eleonore Oppenheim, was born in 1983. In 1990, he joined the staff of The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) as a solfeggist.  In his current capacity as a team leader for ASCAP Radio, Internet and Other Surveys, his involvement includes radio analysis and research for foreign performing rights societies. Since 1992, he has co-led a quintet with Katharine Cartwright, writing songs and lyrics for the group, whose repertoire includes bebop, standards, original pieces, compositions by John Cage, and settings of the poetry of Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  His transcriptions for the ensemble, which features Cameron Brown, Bill Goodwin, and James Weidman, include works by Al Cohn, Ornette Coleman, Tadd Dameron, Duke Ellington, Clifford Jordan, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, and Billy Strayhorn.

Katchie Cartwright and Richard Oppenheim: Soulmates (1996), La Faute de la Musique: Songs of John Cage (2000); A Mumbai of the Mind: Ferlinghetti Improvisations (2000-2001);
As sideperson:
Greg Alper Band: Fat Doggie (1979); Graham Moses: Put It All On Red (1980); Mark Holen Ensemble: Zamboma (1981); The Patrick Brennan Ensemble: Soup (1982); Foghat: In The Mood For Something Rude (1982); Grham Moses: Both Sides Always (1984); The Rumprollers: Swingin' With Some BBQ (1989); Abbey Rader: Homecoming (1992); Graham Moses: Far Edges (1994); Katchie Cartwright Quintet Live! at the Deer Head Inn (1994); Gregory Alper and Fat Doggie!: How Much is That in Dog Years? (1998)

Whatever (1998, Susan Skoog, director) featured soloist in score by Fred Parcells
Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid (1986, John Golden, director)featured soloist and on-screen appearances

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