Roger Arntzen (b.1976, Bodø, Norway)

Coming from the northern part of Norway Roger Arntzen is one of the new interesting bass players on the Norwegian jazz scene.

Arntzen started off playing the accordeon at the age of five, follwed by the tuba in high school, before switching to electric bass and finally ending up with the acoustic bass as his companion.

Arntzen is involved in many internationally critically acclaimed bands, such as the piano trio In the Country, with hyperpiano player Morten Qvenild and drummer Pål Hausken. In the Country has released seven albums on various labels, four albums on the Norwegian cult label Rune Grammofon, two albums on the German prestige label ACT and one album on the Norwegian label Grappa. They were awarded "Young Jazz Musicians Of The Year" in Norway in 2004, and Downbeat called their debut album "one of the finest and most arresting albums to come out of Europe" that year. Their two latest albums were nominated for Spellemannprisen (the Norwegian "grammy) and many of their releases has been listed on several "best of "-lists of releases over the years.

Roger Arntzen is also the second founder of Ballrogg, an semi-improvised/semi-composed minimalistic bass/reed/guitar trio. Together with clarinet and alto sax player Klaus Ellerhusen Holm and guitarist Ivar Grydeland Ballrogg has released three albums on the Norwegian labels Bolage and Hubro.

With guitarist Asbjørn Lerheim, Shining-leader and saxophone player Jørgen Munkeby and drummer Torstein Lofthus Roger Arntzen makes the forth member of the rockjazz quartet Chrome Hill. They have released four albums, two of them under the name Damp. Their two latets albums Earthlings and Country Of Lost Borders was included on the Øyafestivalen´s "best of"-lists of Norwegian releases.

Roger Arntzen is also part of Håvard Stubø Trio, featuring the guitar player Håvard Stubø and drummer Torstein Lofthus, and All About Jazz says this about Arntzen and the trio:

At even the most remote and obscure festivals, there’s almost always at least one "find." Sometimes it’s a total unknown, sometimes an established musician lost amidst the masses. Stuboe, the Oslo guitarist and composer, proved one of the latter and his new trio was the highlight of this year’s Polarjazz festival, at least for me and my traveling companions. [...] Arntzen provided a smart, stable foundation of soft, thick-tone notes which hit a sprinter’s pace during solos. Lofthus went for a less-is-more approach on many solos, emphasizing one or two tones at a time, moving through a few rotations of new ones, then finally bringing them together for the climax. Interplay between the three was consistently strong and seemed to connect well with the audience. [...]
Mark Sabbatini, All About Jazz, USA

Record store veteran and enthusiast Bruce Lee Gallanter at Downtown Music Gallery in New York says about Roger Arntzen and Ballrogg:

[...] Bassist Roger Arntzen is a perfect foil with an equally luscious and enchanting tone. The title track features some superb, haunting bass clarinet from Klaus, while "Hat and Beard" is done in a most spirited way. Klaus' alto sax is often joyous and he does sounds like Dolphy at times. On "Emphasis," his alto tone is sublime with some equally tender acoustic bass. This song was written by the great Jimmy Giuffre and it does capture his superb, contemplative vibe. Considering that this is merely just a duo, they are well-matched and consistently inspired throughout. Superbly recorded as well.
Bruce Lee Gallanter Downtown Music Gallery, New York, USA

Roger Arntzen (2014)
Photo by Peter Gannushkin

For more info about me click on the band links above and click again on members.

CONTACT: roger (at) rogerarntzen (dot) com

PRESS: For high-res picture (7,4 MB, 3456 x 4608) right click on picture