Paal Nilssen-Love

An iconic drummer of the of jazz, free jazz and free improvisation genres.


Norwegian percussionist and composer working in the genres of jazz, free jazz and free improvisation. He was born in Molde, Norway. His parents ran a jazz club in Stavanger and he learned to play drums on a drum kit belonging to his father. As a teenager, he played with free-jazz saxophonist Frod Gjerstad, which started this long musical collaboration. While studying music at Sund folkehøgskole, as part of the jazz programme at Trondheim Musikkonservatorium, he formed the band Element, which musically became a platform for several other groups. After moving to Oslo, he was involved in the formation of groups such as the Håkon Kornstad Trio, The Quintet and the Frode Gjerstad Trio, as well as in projects he initiated himself. In 1999, he played his first solo concert and shortly afterwards embarked on an international career, playing alongside Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and American saxophonist Ken Vandermark, among others. He has worked with his trio Vandermark and Ab Baars, the bands Large Unit (a big band of about 14 members which he directs and for which he has been composing since 2013), School Days, The Thing, Scorch Trio, Territory Band, FME. He also contributes to various duo projects such as with Brötzmann, Vandermark, Hessels, Butcher, Asheim and Marhaug.

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten / Mikołaj Trzaska / Paal Nilssen-Love
Sokołowsko Jazz meets Punkt Festival 2024
The second edition of Sokołowsko Jazz, in collaboration with Norway's PUNKT, will present stylistically diverse projects.