Paal was born in Molde, Norway, Dec 24. 1974. From 1990 on he took an active part in the jazz milieu in Stavanger and joined bands with established musicians such as trumpeter Didrik Ingvaldsen and saxophonist Frode Gjerstad. During his studies at the Jazz department at the University in Trondheim, where the first self initiated bands were established, things developed really fast – and Paal was nationally acknowledged at the age of 20. Paal moved to Oslo in 1996, where he joined and/or took part in the forming of bands like Vindaloo, SAN, Håkon Kornstad Tio, The Quintet and Frode Gjerstad Trio. He later on got more into self initiated projects and collaborations with Swedish musicians, such as pianist Sten Sandell and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson.
Being active in several bands at the same time has always been Paal’s deliberate working method. Today Paal’s portfolio includes The Thing, the Large Unit, Frode Gjerstad Trio, Sten Sandell Trio, Scorch Trio, various duo projects such as with reedmen Ken Vandermark, John Butcher, Mats Gustafsson, Peter Brotzmann, organist Nils Henrik Asheim and noise wizard Lasse Marhaug.