Arthur Kell (bassist, composer) is one of the most original voices on today's New York jazz scene. For the past twenty-five years, he has played with an amazing cross-section of the most influential contemporary jazz musicians in New York City and around the world.

For example, in the 1980's Arthur played extensively with artists such as Thomas Chapin (Spirits Rebellious Quintet), Bobbie Previte, Shelley Hirsch and Fred Ho, and also played dates with Billy Bang, Marc Ribot and Mark Feldman.

This wide experience and versatility are reflected in Arthur's playing and writing. His compositions and his improvisations draw on many diverse influences, which makes for very entertaining and compelling listening. Arthur's ability to fit seamlessly into any musical context has made him much in demand as a sideman.

Recently, he has been working with the likes of Sam Newsome, Armen Donelian, Dave Berkman, Cliff Korman, Guillermo Klein, Christian Howes, John Stetch, Bruce Barth and the Finnish singer, Sanni Orasmaa. He has been paired on recordings with Bernard Purdie, Matt Wilson and Anton Fier.




His quartet has done fifteen tours in Europe and he has recorded four cds of his compositions. Since 1997, he has led groups featuring such contemporary jazz stars as Loren Stillman, Bill McHenry, Brad Shepik, Steve Cardenas, Matt Wilson, Gerald Cleaver, Donny McCaslin and Chris Cheek.

Arthur's 2012 release on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground label, Jester, unveils a new program of songs that has been enthusiastically embraced before sold-out audiences in Europe and New York. His current working band includes Loren Stillman (alto sax), Brad Shepik (guitar) and Mark Ferber (drums).

He has recently started working with Flashpoint, a group of six poets/writers and one musician. Recent and upcoming performances for Flashpoint include Dixon Place and Le Poisson Rouge in NYC.

Arthur is also composing and performing with interdisciplinary artist Quintan Ana Wikswo, choreographer Alexx Shilling and Fieldshift/Further, a multidisciplinary performance company involving dance, poetry, spoken text, music and film. The company will have installations and performances with Quintan Ana Wikswo in the Jewish Museums of Munich and Berlin in 2013.

Arthur was born in Winchester, Massachusetts. His musical life started late in high school. He met Thomas Chapin there and the two became life-long friends. He went on to study at Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Diana Mizelle, Mark Bernat and Wendell Logan (composition). It was at Oberlin that he first met and played extensively with Ned Rothenberg, Jon Jang, Eric Watson and Tom Varner.

In the period 1987-1997, Arthur was a prominent environmental activist in New York (read an excerpt about his work from a book by Benjamin Miller).


In 2012, Arthur was a faculty member at Swarnbhoomi Academy of Music in Tamil Nadu, India. He has also taught in Italy as an associate teacher for the State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase.

Arthur was invited to be a fellow at Music Omi, an international music colony in upstate New York and is now on the board of directors.

Arthur has also traveled extensively in Africa (read an excerpt from his journals about travel in the deserts of Niger), India and Kyrgyzstan. In a four-month period in 1994-5, he traveled alone by local transportation from Senegal to the Indian Ocean, including 900 miles by camel through the Sahara desert in Niger and Chad.