Arild Andersen Group

CD18,90 out of print
Featured Artists Recorded


Original Release Date


  • 1Birth Of The Universe
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 2Mourn
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 3The Big Lie
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 4Chorus I
    (Sophocles, Arild Andersen)
  • 5Electra Song Intro
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 6Electra Song
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 7Electra Song Outro
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 8Chorus II
    (Sophocles, Arild Andersen)
  • 97th Background
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 10One Note
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 11Whispers
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 12Divine Command
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 13Clytaemnestras Entrance
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 14Loud Sound
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 15Chorus III
    (Sophocles, Arild Andersen)
  • 16Opening
    (Arild Andersen)
  • 17Chorus IV
    (Sophocles, Arild Andersen)
  • 18Big Bang
    (Arild Andersen)
Once spoken of along with Garbarek, Rypdal and Christensen as one of the “Big Four” of Scandinavian jazz, recent developments in the indigenous jazz of this fertile region have produced many new challengers to Andersen’s crown. … Electra amply fulfils the brief for a modern, fluid, and spacious sound-scape. Vocalists join the mix more as a choral texture than for any lyric purpose, leaving Henriksen’s plaintive trumpet as the de facto lead vocalist. … The longest and boldest piece on the disc, it exemplifies the seamless fusion of ancient and cutting edge materials. Andersen’s talents as a composer have rarely been so much in the spotlight… His precise, warmly resonant bass-lines sound as good as ever, and although Electra may be a long way from Afric Pepperbird, Andersen should be a vital cornerstone of any new Big Four for the 21st Century. Strongly recommended.
Fred Grand, Jazzreview
There’s a feeling of wonder, to much of the enterprise: whispers glitter like frosty breath over Andersen’s rapidly ascending bass and percussion sparkles like unexpected snow. The two stars here are the leader whose authoritative, sympathetic playing is located at the heart of proceedings and Arve Henriksen whose breadth of expression on trumpet is astonishing. The success of the project may be attributed to the sympathy between the narrative’s tragic focus and the sense of mournful fatefulness found in much Norwegian music. Ultimately, the marriage of contemporary sounds and rhythms and Greek chorus, which lays its laments like a whisper upon the contemporary arrangements, is both thrilling and haunting.
Colin Buttmer, Jazzwise
The score, originally commissioned for a Greek Production of Sophocles’ Electra, has a refreshing breadth and vulgarity. It also has the lopsided sprawl you associate with theatre or soundtrack albums. … Andersen’s cast of musicians includes percussionists Paolo Vinaccia and Patrice Héral, guitarist Eivind Aarset and trumpeter Arve Henriksen, whose otherworldly tone dominates the album. There is also some beautiful writing for voices – literally a Greek chorus. Through effects, loops and studio techniques, Andersen succeeds in conjuring a big palette of sounds from a small group of musicians.
John L Walters, The Guardian
A modern score for a new production of the Greek tragedy Electra describes Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen’s latest ECM release, but that doesn’t give the whole picture. Electra is another lush-sounding offering from the Scandinavian contingent, which, at times, blends Asian and Nordic influences in equal measure. … Featuring drummers Paolo Vinaccia and Patrice Héral, the shakuhachi-like trumpet of Arve Henriksen and some haunting vocals underpinned by Andersen’s bass and Eivind Aarset’s textural guitar, this is a truly magnifincent CD.
Brent Keefe, Drummer
Wie findet man neue Töne für diese alte Geschichte um Rache und Muttermord, neue Töne für den Schrecken und die Angst, die Aigisthos und Klytaimnestra an Agamemnons Hof verbreitet haben? ... Andersen ... schuf eine aufregend fremd klingende Klanglandschaft, die gleichermaßen von den flächigen Trompetensounds Arve Henriksens, der Stimme Savina Yannatous und der eruptiven, an Terje Rypdal erinnernden Gitarrenarbeit Eivind Aarsets geprägt wird. Gitarren-Noise, schwere, elektronisch bearbeitete perkussive Grooves, unter anderem von Nils Petter Molvær programmiert, verstörende Stimmen an der Grenze der Hörbarkeit, archaische Gesänge, erst Andersens luzides Bassspiel sorgt für die hinreichende Grundierung der Klänge. Achtzehn unbetitelte Szenen, manche nur wenige Sekunden, andere zehn Minuten lang, enthält dieses den Hörer magisch in den Bann schlagende Album.
Ulrich Kriest, Stuttgarter Zeitung
Der norwegische Bassist Arild Andersen, entwirft, akustische Instrumente, Electronics und Stimmen einbeziehend, einen klanggewaltigen Bilderbogen, der die antike Tragödie “Elektra” imaginiert.
Bert Noglik, Jazz Zeitung
Aktuelle Musik zum antiken Stoff. ... Die meisten der 18 Szenen sind instrumental gehalten. Weltmusikalische Percussion, Eivind Aarsets rockige Ambient-Gitarre und programmierte Beats rücken einzelne Szenen in die Nähe der Klangwelt eines Nils Petter Molvaer, der hier freilich nicht als Trompeter zum Einsatz kommt. Dafür ist Andersens volltönender Kontrabass schon für sich ein Genuss. Eine „Elektra“, bei der man hätte dabeigewesen sein mögen.
Berthold Klostermann, Fono Forum
“Thine is a fatal course of grief, passing ever from due bounds into a cureless sorrow; wherein there is no deliverance from evils. Say, wherefore art thou enamoured of misery?”
Sophocles, Electra

Like so many of the Greek tragedies, Sophocles’ “Electra”, with its themes of endurance of suffering and chains of bloody retribution, remains as pertinent in the 21st century as it was when it was first staged, around 420 B.C. It was with this in mind that Greek theatre director Yannis Margaritis, who counts filmmakers Angelopoulos and Tarkovsky among his major influences, asked Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen for a “very modern” score for his new presentation of the tale of the young woman “whose life is a torrent of woes dread and dark, a torrent that surges through all the months.”

For this work with the Spring Theatre group, presented under the auspices of the Cultural Olympiad 2001-2004, Arild Andersen rounded up Norwegian and Greek associates old and new, guiding them through a spacious soundscape, conceived and produced by the bassist at a variety of locations. Andersen, 60 this year, regards “Electra” as a summing up of the directions he has taken in recent years, with an emphasis on structure and arrangement.

Greece has been increasingly important in Arild Andersen’s itinerary over the last decade. A sequence of tours from the late 1990s onwards (initially alongside Markus Stockhausen) brought him into contact with a wide range of musicians. Vassilis Tsabropoulos, subsequently pianist with the Andersen Trio on the albums “Achirana” and “The Triangle” was one. Singer Savina Yannatou, who had just begun her association with ECM (refer to “Terra Nostra” and “Sumiglia”) was another. Yannatou agreed to sing Sophocles’ ‘lyrics’, supported by the Greek chorus of Elly Casdas, Chrysanthi Douzi and Fontini Grammenou.

In a sense, however, the principal singer on the disc is Arve Henriksen, the Norwegian trumpeter whose liquid “vocal” tone, now influenced as much by shakuhachi and duduk players as by the trumpet tradition, is in the foreground of almost every track. Henriksen is a member of the groups of Trygve Seim and Christian Wallumrød (whose new album “A Year From Easter” is released concurrently with “Electra”), and previously appeared also with Jon Balke’s groups on ECM.

Another trumpeter appears in a less familiar role. Nils Petter Molvær was introduced to the world via Andersen’s Masqualero band when he was barely in his twenties. Now Molvær returns to the Andersen circle to programme the heavy drumbeats of “7th Background”, a piece somewhat in the spirit of Molvær’s “Khmer” and “Solid Ether” discs. If Molvær seems a reference elsewhere, attribute it to the presence of Eivind Aarset, Molvær’s lead guitarist for most of the last decade, before concentrating on his own Electronique Noir group. Aarset has also recorded for ECM alongside Molvær in Marilyn Mazur’s band. Andersen’s Electra compositions sometimes encourage him to play in the spirit of one of his earliest influences, Terje Rypdal.

Italian born drummer Paolo Vinaccia has been an active participant on the Norwegian scene for a quarter century, previously recording with Andersen and Rypdal for ECM (on, respectively, “Hyperborean” and “Skywards”). For the first time on disc he is partnered here with fellow Andersen associate Patrice Héral, the French drummer who has worked with Arild in the KARTA band (with Rypdal and Markus Stockhausen).

And, of course, there is plenty of Andersen’s powerful, imaginative bass playing. One of the so-called “Big Four” of Norwegian jazz, and an ECM recording artist since 1970, he has influenced successive generations of players. Andersen has been highly valued by international jazz musicians, too, working with everyone from Sam Rivers to Sheila Jordan, Roswell Rudd, Don Cherry, George Russell and many others. “Electra” is his 16th ECM album as a leader. He has also appeared on ECM discs with Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Bill Frisell, David Darling, and Robin Kenyatta.