Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten exploded on the Scandinavian avant-garde jazz scene in the mid-'90s. By 2002, he had become one of the hardest working bassists there, having appeared on more than 20 albums, many of them also featuring drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. He plays in the Norwegian groups Element and Atomic. Saxophonist Mats Gustaffson opened him the doors to Chicago, where he plays in Ken Vandermark's School Days.
Flaten was born in Oppdal in 1971. He came to jazz slowly and determined his career choice in the course of his three years at the Trondheim Music Conservatory (1992-1995). There he met pianist Håvard Wiik with whom he formed the John Coltrane-inspired group Element. Nilssen-Love joined them upon his arrival in town in 1993. His first released recording was Olemanns Kornett (of course a permutation of Ornette Coleman's name), a session with the Source, also including Trygve Seim, Øyvind Btaekke, and Per Oddvar Johansen. Released in 1994 on Curling Legs, it was followed by a second album the following year. With drummer Johansen and pianist Christian Wallumrød, he formed the trio Close Erase, whose first album for the label NOR came out in 1996 -- the same year as Element's first. Those two groups kept Flaten occupied for a while, gigging extensively on the jazz festival circuit, both Scandinavian and abroad. He also performed in Bugge Wesseltoft's New Conception of Jazz and recorded three albums with South African saxophonist Zim Ngqawana.
In 1999, Håker Flaten, Nilssen-Love, and Wiik joined two Swedish horn players to form Atomic. Around the same time, the bassist and drummer recorded a session with famous saxophonist and bridge to Chicago Mats Gustaffson (The Thing, 2000). They both took a ticket to the U.S. and joined Vandermark's School Days. Back home, the bassist continued to perform with his previous groups while participating in the large improv ensemble No Spaghetti Edition and formed a new trio with veteran guitarist Raoul Björkenheim (Scorch Trio, 2002). ~ François Couture, Rovi