Born in Switzerland in 1954, Daniel Guggenheim first learned recorder as a five-year-old. At eight, he learnt piano. At thirteen he discovered improvisation and at sixteen he played keyboards in a pop band.
He studied saxophone at the Bernese Swiss Jazz School in addition to composition and arrangement and graduated with a diploma. Parallel to his studies, he directed his own quartet, influenced by John Coltrane.
In search of new inspirations, Guggenheim went first to Paris, then to Rio de Janeiro. Playing in jazz clubs, he met Hermeto Pascoal in 1983, but without a work permit, they were expelled from Brazil.
“In Rio, I came to know a completely new mentality, a different kind of music. Hermeto and his musicians create a completely independent kind of music by devoting themselves completely to this task and going into it. For them, life and work are no longer separate, music becomes a comprehensive experience. While composing and playing, Hermeto releases images in his head and thus tries to find his own identity,” described Daniel.
At the end of 1983 back in Europe, Guggenheim initially struggled as a street musician, living from hand to mouth. He moved to Frankfurt and began teaching at Frankfurt Musikwerkstatt.
He has performed and recorded with the greats of both the jazz and pop scene. He has played with Elvin Jones, Cecil McBee, Richie Beirach, Billy Hart, Roy Hargrove, Bob Degen, Vitold Rek, Keith Copeland, Januseland e.g. Stefanski, David Liebman, Jürgen Wuchner, Harry Becket and Nena and Udo Lindenberg.
His own projects include the duo with Peter Madsen, the group The Hip, the Grandsheiks playing the Music of Frank Zappa, "The New York Quartet", and "Jazz Against Apartheid".