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Polar Bear: Raw and Spontaneous

By Published: February 8, 2010
Polar Bear's star continues to rise as part of what seems like an increasingly vigorous and creative UK jazz scene. Do Herbert and Rochford share this view of British jazz? Once again, Rochford pauses for thought and Herbert answers first. "I think the scene's really healthy. The people I come across, especially the younger players, have a very open attitude. It seems like there are loads of bands forming with very different sounds and loads of influences," he says. "We played the Jazz Cafe recently with Zed-U and Troyka supporting us—two really amazing and creative bands with world-class playing." Rochford also feels positive about the UK scene. "I feel very proud of all the music that's coming from the UK, from people like Kit Downes
Kit Downes
Kit Downes
, who's playing really moves me. Every time I listen to him, I think, 'Wow.' And you can go from him all the way up to Stan Tracey
Stan Tracey
Stan Tracey
1926 - 2013
or Evan Parker
Evan Parker
Evan Parker
sax, tenor
," he says.

Polar Bear, from left: Leafcutter John, Tom Herbert, Mark Lockheart Pete Wareham, Seb Rochford

The final word goes to Herbert: "I just wanted to say that a lot of bands I come across seem to be creating their own sounds. America is still a big influence on jazz—a lot of players are assimilating that, but they're creating something that sounds really British. It doesn't seem like a conscious thing, but it feels like people are allowing themselves to make music which is representative of them. That's really inspiring."

Selected Discography
Polar Bear, Peepers (Leaf Records, 2010)
The Invisible, The Invisible (Accidental Records, 2009)
Acoustic Ladyland, Living With A Tiger (V2 Records, 2009)
Mark Lockheart, In Deep (Edition Records, 2009)
Polar Bear, Polar Bear (Tin Angel, 2008)
Leafcutter John, The Forest And The Sea (Staubgold, 2006)
Polar Bear, Held On The Tips Of Fingers (Babel, 2005)
Mark Lockheart, Moving Air (Basho Records, 2005)
Polar Bear, Dim Lit (Babel, 2004)
Leafcutter John, The Housebound Spirit (Planet Mu, 2003)

Photo Credits

Page 1, Top: Courtesy of The Leaf Label

All Other Photos: Bruce Lindsay

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Download jazz mp3 “Peepers” by Polar Bear