Guitarist Kristian Aspelin (b. 1972) has been an active member of the San Francisco Bay Area music community for over 20 years. While playing in rock bands in his youth, he was first drawn to the power and possibilities of improvisation through the 30-second guitar solos that he improvised as part of this genre's songs. After hearing John Coltrane in his teens, he realized that there were other avenues of musical expression via improvisation and so began to seriously examine jazz, playing in numerous combos and large ensembles as well as studying jazz harmony, theory, and composition. Still wanting for more opportunities of extended improvisation and group interaction, he eventually discovered and found his calling in the worlds of free jazz and non-idiomatic free improvisation.
Using an unadorned, pure sound as his template, Kristian's goal is to rigorously explore and extract from his instrument the melodies, rhythms, harmonies, and/or textures needed to express or complement a given moment in the context of improvisation.
Kristian has studied with a number of leading improvisers in various genres, including Joe Morris, Steve Lantner, Gerald Cleaver, Larry Ochs, Bill Bell, Morris Acevedo, Liberty Ellman, David Fiuczynski, Bennett Friedman, and John Schott. He has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Damon Smith, Kyle Bruckmann, Joe Morris, Scott Looney, Weasel Walter, Jerome Bryerton, Paul Hartsaw, Marco Eneidi, Ralph Carney, Henry Kaiser, Moe! Staiano, and Phillip Greenlief.