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 two semesters of jazz workshops with Theo Loevendie.
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 orchestra with which Willem Breuker caused upheaval at the Loosdrecht Jazz Festival, together with Ileana Melita, Gilius van Bergeyk, Hans Vonk, Jan Wolff and others.
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 the Instant Composers Pool, ICP.
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) 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; six years as member of the Dutch Arts Council (Raad voor de Kunst).
Arjen is a member of the Willem Breuker Kollektief from its founding in 1975 on and traveled 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 active internationally as free lance contrabassist/improviser, performing together with musicians ranging from Jemeel Moondoc 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 plays in the Frank van Bommel Quintet, which toured Canada in 2003. He also is part of Drummers Double Bill, an octet led by Rob Verdurmen and Arend Niks that toured in Holland and China.