Polar Bear (British band)

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For other uses of the term 'Polar Bear', see Polar Bear (disambiguation).
Polar Bear
Polar Bear - Coventry Jazz Festival 2007.jpg
Polar Bear at Taylor John's House, Coventry, England, 2007
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Experimental
Years active 2004 - present
Labels The Leaf Label, Babel Label, Tin Angel
Associated acts F-IRE Collective
Acoustic Ladyland
Fulborn Teversham
The Invisible
Melt Yourself Down
Website Official site
Members Seb Rochford
Pete Wareham
Mark Lockheart
Tom Herbert
Leafcutter John

Polar Bear is a British experimental jazz band led by drummer Seb Rochford with Pete Wareham on tenor and baritone saxophone, Mark Lockheart on tenor saxophone, Tom Herbert on double bass and Leafcutter John on electronics and occasionally guitar or mandolin.

Polar Bear were nominated for the 'Best band' award at the BBC Jazz Award 2004, while Rochford was nominated for the 'Rising Star' award.[1] Their first album Dim Lit was released in the same year and was a small scale success.

Their second record, Held on the Tips of Fingers merged elements of cool jazz, funk, dance music, free jazz, electronica and drum and bass and was, by comparison, a massive crossover hit, earning Polar Bear a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize in 2005.[2] The success was all the more unusual for an almost purely instrumental album. The album was nominated for a BBC Jazz Award 2006. It was selected as one of "the 100 jazz albums that shook the world" by Jazzwise magazine.[3] They are part of the F-IRE Collective.

They released their self-titled third album, Polar Bear, in July 2008 with Tin Angel Records.[4] Their fourth album, Peepers, was released in March 2010. Their fifth album In Each and Every One was nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize.[5][6]


  • "Dim Lit". Babel. 2004. BDV 2446. 
  • "Held On The Tips Of Fingers". Babel. 2005. BDV2552. 
  • "Polar Bear". Tin Angel. 2008. 
  • "Peepers". The Leaf Label. 2010. 
  • "In Each and Every One". The Leaf Label. 2014. 


  1. ^ Sherwin, Adam (July 10, 2004). "BBC awards snub the champions of popular jazz". Times, The (London). Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  2. ^ "Antony and Johnsons win Mercury". BBC News. September 7, 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  3. ^ "The 100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World". Jazzwise. August 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  4. ^ Walters, John (July 11, 2008). "Polar Bear, Polar Bear". Guardian, The (London). Retrieved 2008-07-19. .
  5. ^ http://www.mercuryprize.com/aoty/shortlist.php?Year=2014
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-29079657

External links[edit]

-BalconyTV Hamburg performance in June 2011.