Pianist Tor E 'Dr' Bekken is a musician who is interested in the whole history of jazz. A lifelong dedication to the art of traditional blues driven piano has given him a mastery of that idiom which few players can grasp, much less deliver. He has a monster left hand which is the mandatory driving force for this type of piano playing, and his right hand soloing and clean technical dexterity present the whole package. At the same time, Bekken works within the field of modern, free improvisation, citing pianists like Don Pullen, Bobby Few and Charles Gayle as central sources of inspiration. Tor E Bekken was born in Drammen, Norway.He has played jazz and blues piano since childhood, and has absorbed all the nuances in the process. He completed a Master's degree in music in 1996, with a thesis on James Booker (shows in his approach) and New Orleans piano traditions.
Bekken has worked for US artists such as Eddie Bo, Marva Wright, Benny Turner, Big Al Carson,etc. He has also performed with artists such as blues harmonica player James Harman, Nick Gravenites and Louisiana Red. He is currently working mainly as a solo performer on the club and festival scene in Norway and Europe. He occasionally performs with the DR BEKKEN TRIO, featuring drummer Dag Kittilsen and bassist Mattis Kleppen. In addition, Bekken is currently Associate Professor of Music at NTNU - The Norwegian University of Science & Technology in Trondheim, Norway. Bekken has released The Naked Blues(1995) Train - Stone Blues Piano, Vol.1(2001) Got Milk If You Want It(2003)The Ticklers (2004)Flood Street(2006)Hardcore Piano(2008), Songs From a Forest (2009) and the solo ukulele/vocal album JazzBluesRagtimeVaudeville (2011). Recent releases are 'Extended Blues' (2012), 'Grand Piano' and 'Slaveriet' (2013) and 'Crescent City Impressions - Solo Piano' (2014). Bekken is also an accomplished pianist for silent movies, improvising on-the-spot scores for films by Buster Keaton as well as German expressionist epics.