February 25, 2010

Polar Bear: Peepers

Polar Bear
photo: Steve Gullick

UK experimental jazz quintet Polar Bear are on the forefront of the rejuvenation of jazz as a musical force that can cross-over to music lovers of other genres, or at least ot people who can handle buckets full of ideas that come splashing out of the speakers. Led by drummer and main composer Sebastian Rochford their new album Peepers kicks off with Happy For You, with a rock beat and the tenor tandem edging each other on, a foreboding of what's the come next.

The uninitiated will have a hard time swallowing tracks like Drunken Pharoah and the twosome Bump and Scream, two short free jazz tracks that could be mistaken for the sound of a train derailing at top speed. As Frank Zappa would say: "Make a jazz noise here". The percussion of Hope Every Day Is A Happy New Year may remind you of Want To Believe Everything by The Who. For the title track Peepers the Stones' Honky Tonk Women comes to mind. Remember, jazz was invented as dance music and the Polar Bear members are aware of that.

Recorded quickly with the musicians in a room without separation, the instruments sometimes bleed over the tracks, which adds to the live feel. The band did not use headphones themselves whilst in the studio, but it is recommended to don a pair of good ones to appreciate Peepers to the fullest.

Polar Bear:
Tom Herbert: double bass
Mark Lockheart: tenor sax
Leafcutter John: mandolin and electronics
Sebastian Rochford: drums
Pete Wareham: tenor sax

Polar Bear: Peepers

Peepers is released on The Leaf Label. Also available on vinyl. Release date: March 1.

  1. Happy For You
  2. Bap Bap Bap
  3. Drunken Pharoah
  4. The Love Didn't Go Anywhere
  5. A New Morning Will Come
  6. Peepers
  7. Bump
  8. Scream
  9. Hope Every Day Is A Happy New Year
  10. Want To Believe Everything
  11. Finding Our Feet
  12. All Here (CD only)

Live dates:
  • 02/26 Paradox, Tilburg, The Netherlands
  • 03/02 The Garage, London, UK
  • 03/26 The Firestation, Windsor, UK
  • 05/03 Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Cheltenham, UK
  • 05/20 Hnita Jazz, Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium
  • 05/21 Recyclart, Brussels, Belgium
  • 05/22 LVC, Leiden, The Netherlands
  • 07/03 Mostly Jazz Festival, Birmingham, UK
  • 07/09 Pohoda Festival, Trencin, Slovakia
  • 08/29 Aeon Festival, Devon, UK

» polarbearmusic.com
» myspace.com/sebastianrochford

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