Arjen Gorter (2 januari 1948, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) played accordeon at age 8, guitar at 12 and double bass from age 16. He is self-taught, but for a few months of classical bass lessons and some semesters of weekly jazz workshops with Theo Loevendie and Nedly Elstak.

He graduated from the Barlaeus Gymnasium and studied political science and sociology at the University of Amsterdam, until becoming a full-time musician in early 1970.

In 1966 he participated in the 18-piece Orkest '66 with which Willem Breuker caused upheaval at the Loosdrecht Jazz Festival, together with Ileana Melita, Gilius van Bergeyk, Hans Vonk, Jan Wolff, Hans Dulfer and others. He also participated in various projects by the Instant Composers Pool ICP in the late '60's.

From 1967 through 1971 active in various groups led by Gunter Hampel with a.o. Jeanne Lee, Anthony Braxton, Steve McCall en John McLaughlin, at festivals in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Yugoslavia.

During the first half of the 1970's free-lance contrabassist, for example in groups led by Chris McGregor (Paradiso, Amsterdam), John Stevens (Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Berliner Jazz Tage), Gato Barbieri (Bilzen Festival, with Han Bennink) en Paul Bley (Chateauvallon, with Steve McCall).

Member of the Irene Schweizer/ Rudiger Carl Quartet 1972-1975, with a.o. Louis Moholo. In The Netherlands work with Boy Edgar, Loek Dikker, Hans Dulfer & Ritmo Natural, Herman de Wit and Leo Cuypers.

From 1972 through 1985 cooperation with composer/saxophonist Theo Loevendie in his Consort and Quartet;  bassist in groups with Nedly Elstak (e.g. Several Singers and a Horn) between 1978 and 1984.

From the founding in 1974 until the move in 2005 involved in the organisation behind the BIMhuis in Amsterdam; for twelve years board member of the Union of Improvising Musicians BIM; member of the Dutch Arts Council (Raad voor de Kunst) for six years in the '80's.

Arjen was a member of the Willem Breuker Kollektief from its founding in 1975 until the last concert on December 31, 2012, and travelled with this ensemble all over the world, including multiple tours of Russia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia en Australia, and some twenty tours through the United States.

Besides, through the years he is still active internationally as free lance contrabassist/improviser, performing together with musicians ranging from Charles Tyler to Phil Woods, from Sheila Jordan to Suzie Stern and from Rene Thomas to Pere Soto.

He was bassist for the Mal Waldron European Quartet, with John Betsch and Sean Bergin, until Waldron’s death in December 2002. Since the millennium he performed with Craig Handy, Alex Coke, Archie Shepp and James Carter, and with the Eric Dolphy 2000 Project (with Breuker, John Engels and Eric Vloeimans). With Toby Delius, Michael Moore and Martin van Duijnhoven he played in the Frank van Bommel Quintet, which toured Canada in 2003. He was part of the Drummers Double Bill and 3DoubleDutch projects led by Rob Verdurmen and Arend Niks, touring in Holland and China.

More recently Arjen did guest performances with ICP, Bik Bent Braam and Available Jelly, and with groups led by Eric Boeren, Jorrit Dijkstra and Ramon Valle.

In July 2011 Arjen organized and co-arranged the project 'Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot Revisited', giving concerts at the BIMhuis in Amsterdam and at the North Sea Jazz Festival, which featured a quintet led by Moppa Elliott and Peter Evans along with Gorter's sextet with Tom Arthurs, Rudi Mahall, Alex Coke, Benoit Delbecq and John Betsch.

From 2010 he plays regularly in trio with pianist Leo Bouwmeester and Alex Coke on flute, bass flute and tenor sax.

A more recent addition is the Michael Moore Bigtet, an octet that combines the forces of seasoned improvisers like Wolter Wierbos with those of younger talent like pianist Kaja Draksler.

Since many seasons Arjen tours the Dutch theatre circuit with I Compani, the large group that saxophonist Bo van de Graaf has been leading for over 35 years, mixing improvisation and composition with film music and live video.

In the sextet Reeds & Deeds he plays the composities of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, together with saxophone players Frans Vermeerssen, Alex Coke en Bo van de Graaf, pianist Michiel Braam and drummer Makki van Engelen.

A selection from his discography:

• Willem Breuker - Contemporary jazz from Holland: Litany for the 14th of June 1966, Relax, 1966

• Gunter Hampel Group + Jeanne Lee, Wergo Studio-Reihe Neuer Musik, 1968

• Gunter Hampel - The 8th of July 1969, Birth CD 001/Flying Dutchman, with Anthony Braxton, Breuker, Steve McCall, 1969

• Instant Composers Pool - 007/008, ICP, 1969

• Hans Dulfer & Ritmo Natural - Candy Clouds, EMI, 1970

• Theo Loevendie Consort - Chess!, BASF, 1972

• Willem Breuker Kollektief - all (over 50) LP's, CD's and DVD's, mostly on  

                             BVHaast  (see the Willem Breuker discography ), from 1975 until 2017.

• Roswell Rudd/Dulfer - Maine, BVHaast, 1976

• Theo Loevendie Quartet - Orlando, Waterland WM 003, 1977

• Leo Cuypers - Zeeland Suite, BVHaast, 1977

• Boy Raaijmakers/Maarten van Norden Quartet - Chicken Song, BVHaast, 1979

• Nedly Elstak - Sad Trumpets, Coreco 03, 1980

• Leo Cuypers - Heavy Days Are Here Again, Atavistic UMS207CD, with Breuker and Han Bennink, 1981

• Misha Mengelberg - Change of Season: the Music of Herbie Nichols,

        Soul Note 1104, with Steve Lacy, George Lewis en Han Bennink, 1985 *)

• Rüdiger Carl - Virtual Cowws, FMP , with Phil Wachsmann, Irene Schweizer, 1996

• Frank van Bommel - Twardzik, BVHAAST, with Toby Delius, Martin van Duynhoven,1999

• Alex Coke/Rich Harney - Through the Years, with Martin Banks and A.D. Mannion, CreOp Muse 009, 2001

• Alex Coke - New Texas Swing, with Tina Marsh en John Betsch, CreOp Muse 010, 2002

• Frank van Bommel - Ore, with Michael Moore and Tobias Delius, BVHaast, 2004

• Drummers Double Bill - 2Texel, with Jan Wolkers, BVHaast, 2006

• Willem Breuker Kollektief - Live at the Ruta Maya Cafe, Austin Texas, BVHaast, 2006

• Herbert de Jonge - Real People, with Esmee Olthuis and Charles Huffstadt, EWM 75356, 2007

• Willem Breuker Kollektief - Fidget, with Vera Beths, BVHAAST, 2007

• I Compani/Bo van de Graaf, Mangiare!, Toondist, 2011

• I Compani/Bo van de Graaf, Divas, Toondist, 2012

• I Compani/Bo van de Graaf, Verdi 2.00, Toondist, 2013

• I Compani - Fellini 100, I Compani 35, Toondist icdisc 20-11, 2020

• Reeds & Deeds - Live at JazzCase, I Compani/Bo van de Graaf, Elnegocitorecords eNR074, 2019

• Willem Breuker Kollektief - OUT OF THE BOX, 11 CD box + 85 page book! BVHaast 12016


>> For an additional discography (some 125 recordings) see


*) Good memories... :)

Contact Arjen at