Polar Bear (British band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Polar Bear
Polar Bear - Coventry Jazz Festival 2007.jpg
Polar Bear at Taylor John's House, Coventry, England, 2007
Background information
OriginLondon, England
GenresExperimental, jazz
Years active2004–present
LabelsLeaf, Babel, Tin Angel
Associated actsMelt Yourself Down
Sons of Kemet
The Comet Is Coming
F-IRE Collective
Acoustic Ladyland
The Invisible
MembersSeb 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 and 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 Awards 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 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] and featured in The Guardian's list of "1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die".[4] They have been involved with F-IRE Collective.

They released their self-titled third album, Polar Bear, in July 2008 with Tin Angel Records.[5]

In 2010, the band released Peepers and mini-album Common Ground, a collaboration with Portuguese-born, London-based rapper Jyager, on The Leaf Label.[6][7] Their 2014 album In Each And Every One was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize[8][9] and in the same year they released the single "Cuckoo" in collaboration with singer and songwriter Jin Jin.[10] In March 2015 Polar Bear released their sixth album Same as You, including the single "Don't Let The Feeling Go". This track features frequent collaborator Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet and The Comet Is Coming) on tenor saxophone and Rochford and Hannah Darling on vocals.

In 2015, Polar Bear were nominated for Best Jazz Act in the MOBO Awards and Urban Music Awards.[11][12]



  • Common Ground with Jyager (Leaf, 2010)
  • Cuckoo with Jin Jin (Leaf, 2014)


  1. ^ Sherwin, Adam (10 July 2004). "BBC awards snub the champions of popular jazz". Times, The (London). Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  2. ^ "Antony and Johnsons win Mercury". BBC News. 7 September 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  3. ^ "The 100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World". Jazzwise. August 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  4. ^ "Artists beginning with P". The Guardian. 21 November 2007.
  5. ^ Walters, John (11 July 2008). "Polar Bear, Polar Bear". Guardian, The (London). Retrieved 2008-07-19..
  6. ^ "Peepers". The Leaf Label. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
  7. ^ "Common Ground". The Leaf Label. 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Mercury Prize 2014: The nominees". BBC News. 10 September 2014.
  10. ^ "Cuckoo". The Leaf Label. 2014-10-03. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
  11. ^ "Polar Bear". MOBO Awards. 5 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Nomination Announcement for Urban Music Awards". UMA. 20 October 2015.

External links[edit]