He has been one of Europe's leading bass player since the early 70-ties. Andersen started out as a member of the Jan Garbarek Quartet (67-73). The group also included Terje Rypdal and Jon Christensen. During the same period he also worked with Norwegian singer Karin Krog and played in the rhythm section for visiting American musicians such as; Phil Woods, Dexter Gordon, Hampton Hawes, Johnny Griffin, Sonny Rollins, and Chick Corea. He also worked with Don Cherry and George Russell in these years.
In 1972-74, he visited New York several times and worked with the Stan Getz Quartet, Sam Rivers Trio, Sheila Jordan, Steve Kuhn and Paul Bley.
In 1974 Arild Andersen formed his own quartet