cartwright/oppenheim REVIEWS & QUOTES

Katchie & Le Monde Caché: Tales & Tongues

"Rare are individuals with doctorates in ethnomusicology. Rarer still are the Ph.D.s who put ethnomusicological theory into practice. Katchie Cartwright is of that uncommon breed. The native New Yorker, whose previous projects included musical tributes to composer/philosopher John Cage and bohemian poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, relocated to San Antonio in 2006. There, in addition to academic duties at Northwest Vista College, she launched a radio show, Planet Jazz, devoted to what she calls the “global songbook.”

Now Cartwright, who doubles on vocals and flute, has united with her husband, saxophonist Richard Oppenheim, pianist Mark Lomanno (another gifted ethnomusicologist), bassist Billy Satterwhite and drummer Kevin Huss to explore 10 selections from that vast, multilingual songbook. Her bandmates are billed as “le Monde Caché,” French for “the hidden world.” Indeed, Cartwright and company excel at unearthing new ways to illuminate standards with non-English roots, shaping tangos, bossas, swing numbers and soft ballads with unilateral mastery and imagination..." -- Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times read more

"Vocalist Katharine 'Katchie' Cartwright is certainly one extremely talented individual. A Ph.D. in ethnomusicology provides a clue of her caliber on Tales & Tongues. An educator, professional singer and musician, her experience with workshops throughout Europe, South America, the Caribbean, Asia and West Africa, has prepared her well for this particular project, where Cartwright—along with her group Le Monde Caché ("the hidden world")—presents a collection of standards from the world stage, using music from what she terms, the "global songbook." Possessed of a velvet voice, Cartwright draws on her worldly background to sing ten songs in French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Yiddish and Ladino. Besides her gift for song, Cartwright compliments her singing by playing a mean flute.This is the latest joint project with husband/alto saxophonist Richard Oppenheim, with whom Cartwright has performed and recorded since 1980...." -- Edward Blanco, All About Jazz read more

"New York's loss was S.A.'s gain when singer/flutist/educator Katchie Cartwright and her husband, saxophonist Richard Oppenheim, moved to town in '06..." -- Jim Beal,  San Antonio Express-News read more (pdf)

A Mumbai of the Mind: Ferlinghetti Improvisations

"Cartwright and Oppenheim fit perfectly with San Antonio, and vice versa." -- Jim Beal,  San Antonio Express-News read more (pdf)

"Thoroughly original...no less than remarkable...a songstress and  saxophonist  deserving far wider recognition" -- Michael Nastos,  All Music Guide

"Vocalist Katharine Cartwright and saxophonist Richard Oppenheim celebrate the work of two American originals—-John 'the Philosopher Kid' Cage and Lawrence 'the Beat Bard' Ferlinghetti—-in a pair of estimable releases. Each session has a distinct flavor, yet the more I listened to them, the more they merged into one beautiful expression..." -- David Dupont, One Final Note  read more

"Stunning." -- Larry Nai, Cadence read more (pdf)

"I love this CD. It sounds so fresh and innovative, yet so natural and inevitable, it feels like it's been with me for years. The raga-jazz sax and Indian percussion combined with the improvised but structured feel of the gorgeous vocals are a match made in heaven, or Bombay, or Coney Island." -- Charlie Lewis, WFMU

“This is an album to savor, a rare, successful gathering of contrasts … compelling … Oppenheim’s lyrical sax intertwines seductively as his Paul Desmond-like sound seems to always hit the mark.” (4 1/2 stars) - Steven Loewy, All Music Guide

“Spectacular. I want to listen again and again, it holds so much depth and substance, plus it's fun. … Something to be said for not playing it safe, as far too many do.” - Michael Nastos, WEMU

“A beautifully expressive voice … a darkly-modulated sax”- All AboutJ azz

“The old cliché ‘you can't get there from here’ is sonically refuted in Katchie Cartwright and Richard Oppenheim's unique take on Mumbai. Starting in India, traveling through American jazz and the avant-garde and returning to India in new and unexpected ways, A Mumbai of the Mind is not your typical Indo-Jazz fusion album, but rather an unexpected synthesis that is greater than the sum of its parts.” - Frank Oteri, NewMusicBox

La Faute de la Musique: Songs of John Cage

“An original look through Mr. Cage's window - he would love it. This recording is a must for both jazz folks and others with interests left of center!” - Allen Strange, Composer

“By treating John Cage's indeterminate scores as charts to improvise from, Katchie Cartwright and Richard Oppenheim have literally turned John Cage's ideas upside down. … This new disc should make anyone fall in love with John Cage.” - Frank Oteri, NewMusicBox

“Unique.” - Michael Bourne, WBGO

“Beautifully played.” - The Wire


“Intriguing and unpredictable. Well worth checking out.” (4 Stars) - Scott Yanow, AllMusic Guide

“Vocalist nonpareil Cartwright and husband, alto-saxophonist Oppenheim not only prove to be soulmates, but simpatico musical partners. She is emerging as one of the most talented jazz singers on the current scene, he has an interesting sound that stretches bop parameters, a sweet and sour style. When they play in unison, as they do frequently, the sonority is unlike any other. Add to this witches' brew the very fine pianist James Weidman, who's done his share of accompanying singers, notably Abbey Lincoln, ox-strong bassist Belden Bullock, and four-decade Phil Woods back-up, drummer Bill Goodwin. They enhance the music and act as a trampoline foundation, supporting Cartwright's catty voice, which sounds as if she plays quick games of checkers, or hopscotch. There's some sultry wordless scat as in the mid-tempo, Weidman-written title track kicker, siren songs like the image laden ‘The Moon Over His Crazy Rock Garden’ and the slow, deep, mermaid-to-walrus ode ‘Dear Mr. Walrus.’ Vocal gymnastics are present on the mid-tempo, boppish ‘Tumbler’ and chickadee scat on the intro of ‘Blue Mi.’ At her most demonstrative, Cartwright uses see-saw, clipped phrases with sax unison on an ear grabbing funky blues ‘Special K,’ and gets impressionistic on the waltz ‘Dada Bass.’

The only piece not completely composed by one of the participants has a slow thematic reference to Charlie Parker's ‘Quasimodo’ with lyrics about life as a woman in this sexist society, ‘It's Hard To Say’ melting gently into the Gershwin evergreen ‘Embraceable You,’ quite a mood swing, in more ways than one. Cartwright is no less than remarkable. She has a resonant voice, with slight vibrato occasionally slipping through. Her chords ring like a harbor bell in a fog, or skip like a flat rock on water's surface, and seductively invite you in. The material is thoroughly original and jazz-oriented, swinging effortlessly as if she was born to do this. Oppenheim's contributions cannot be overlooked... A wonderful addition to the modern jazz singing discography, and hopefully a portent of yet more to come from a songstress and saxophonist deserving far wider recognition.’ (4 1/2 Stars, AMG Pick) - Michael Nastos, AllMusic Guide

“Katchie Cartwright…is one helluva singer. She scats with total ease and perfection…. Richard Oppenheim's rich alto follows, with Katchie and Oppenheim then merging together, the vocalist ‘playing’ her soprano voice as if it had a reed and was made of brass. … Top it off with the legendary Bill Goodwin on drums…and you have some great music. … Inspiration, improvisation, and richness are the keys to the quintet… Soulmates is a marvelous recording.” - JazzTimes

“Sophisticated, playful… Who thought jazz could be this much fun?” - Wayne Saroyan, JazzWest

“Subtle variations on the bop vocabulary...exquisite singing...satiny alto playing...cohesion and grace...”- Jerome Wilson, Cadence
“Ace alto sax player Richard Oppenheim…is truly a cross between Charlie Parker and Lee Konitz.” - Niranjan Jhaveri, JazzIndia

Live! at the Deer Head Inn

“Hip...playful...lively...spirited…a stellar quintet. … Hip grooves and a laid-back ambience mark Katchie Cartwright's Live! At the Deer Head Inn. …swirling alto saxophone of Cartwright's husband Richard Oppenheim, which dances in and out of Cartwright's vocal flourishes with crisp intonation and charm. … With superb accompaniment throughout the album's 12 tunes (including a freewheeling improvisational sound check, ‘Dear Inn’), Cartwright makes a strong first impression on disc.” - Jazziz

“She grabs every lyric and makes it her own with a voice that is both velvety and spicy.”- JazzTimes

“Katharine ‘Katchie’ Cartwright is a pure jazz singer who can climb all over a melody in the best Annie Ross manner. She has a lovely soprano voice she maneuvers like an alto sax to do sophisticated blues like Bob Dorough’s ‘Bittersweet and Balmy,’ dance lightly through Lee Morgan’s ‘Ceora’ and treat Strayhorn’s ‘Flower’ and Mingus’ ‘Eclipse’ like art songs. Her husband, Richard Oppenheim, accompanies her with a satiny saxophone sound and the rhythm section, featuring the exalted likes of Cameron Brown and Bill Goodwin, is expert. ...a beautiful sound.” - Jerome Wilson, Cadence

“Silky smooth and seductively elastic, Katchie’s vocal performance of these underplayed jazz tunes exhibits savvy and sophisticated musicianship that translates into a musical treasure. ... As she wraps her liquid velvet voice around these ballads, bop and swing tunes, the band backs her with a warmth and intimacy which no doubt fuels the appeal of this performance. Katchie’s vocal style is very lyrical, very musical, and the band follows suit in their approach to their instruments … Goodwin takes a colorful, quiet approach to his playing, demonstrating that a drummer’s contribution is not measured by volume. He really shows off his percussive expertise in the Latin-flavored ‘Somewhere in There.’ Weidman’s piano complements Katchie’s vocal, cut from the same cloth, and Oppenheim’s mellow, soulful sax adds body and richness to the whole sound. We also hear Katchie’s control and range on ballads…and know-how on improvisational tunes such as ‘Ceora’ and ‘Confirmation,’ wherein she weaves her scat syllables intricately and delicately into the fabric of the song….this recording is a delight.” - Lisa Randazzo, Rapport

“ Cartwright is an uncommonly disciplined, unaffected artist, scatting with accuracy and an impressive sense of structure. …a bebopper with an unexpected sense of humor.” - Joel E. Siegel, Washington City Paper

“Cartwright is a soulful intellectual with a velvet sound and uncommon ability to do justice to both ballads and up-tempo songs.” - Jimmy Heath

“Jazz Albums of the Year: Katchie Cartwright, with a great voice and repertoire to match on Live! At the Deer Head Inn.” - Ann Arbor News

“Highly recommended.” - Phil Woods

“A unique sound.”- Bob Dorough

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