Eivind Aarset is a guitarist with a unique musical vision that absorbs and reflects all manner of music while retaining an enviable individualism and high quality craftsmanship that can span from quiet intimacy to searing intensity. He is a musician who has succeeded in the difficult task of creating an immediately identifiable sound and marrying it to a will to investigate as many musical possibilities as he can find or imagine.
His debut as a bandleader on Jazzland Recordings was described by the New York Times as "One of the best post-Miles electric jazz albums," setting a high benchmark that Aarset has consistently met and exceeded, both in the studio and in live performance.
As one of Norway's most in-demand guitarists, Eivind Aarset has worked with Jon Hassell, David Sylvian, Laurie Anderdson, Bill Laswell, Sly & Robbie, Tigran Hamasyan, Jan Bang, Jan Garbarek, Marilyn Mazur, Andy Sheppard, Hamid Drake, Husnu Selnederici and Arve Henriksen to name a few. He has worked with Nils Petter Molvaer's band, (appearing on all of Molvaer's albums up to 2010, including the breakthrough album "Khmer" and 2006's awardwinning "ER"). And not at least, he has a long lasting collaboration with Dhafer Youssef, both live and in the studio.
Aarset's musical awakening happened when, at the age of 12, he heard Jimi Hendrix. "I started on the guitar as soon as I heard him," he recalls with a smile. «I bought a second hand Hendrix record and that was it. Then I started getting into rock bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd before my older brother introduced me to the music of Miles Davis, Weather Report and the ECM sound of Jan Garbarek and Terje Rypdal.»
As part of the band, Ab & Zu, he created the unique guitar style and sound he would later develop further as part of saxophonist Bendik Hofseth's group. However, it was his involvement with Bugge Wesseltoft and the Oslo Jazz underground that crystallized the sound he was seeking: "What drew me to this music was the hypnotic grooves and musical freedom I found," says Eivind. "There were no established rules or tradition in what I was doing. Rhythm was the centre of the music, the landscape the soloist travels through. It felt like fresh territory»
Photo: Ariel Monti