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imp: Polar Bear + Tut Vu Vu + Lamplighter @ The Tunnels, 21st June

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interesting music promotions and The Tunnels present


Saturday 21st June 2008

The Tunnels, Carnegies Brae, Aberdeen AB10 1BF. Phone 01224 211121

Doors 8pm

Tickets 10+bf in advance / 10 on door / 16.50+bf combo ticket with Acoustic Ladyland gig

Available from One-Up Records, Belmont Street, Aberdeen. Phone (01224) 642682 or http://www.ticketweb.co.uk





Polar Bear are a post-jazz band led by drummer Seb Rochford (BBC Jazz Award Best Newcomer in 2004 and of Mercury Prize nominated Basquiat Strings, plus Acoustic Ladyland amongst numerous others) with Pete Wareham (tenor and baritone saxophone), Mark Lockheart (tenor saxophone), Tom Herbert (double bass) and Leafcutter John (mandolin and electronics). Sebs appearance (notably his large hair) and phenomenal technique and imagination have made him one of the most in-demand drummers of modern times in the London Jazz scene.

Signed to the Babel Label, Polar Bears first album Dim Lit 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 - the success was all the more unusual for a largely instrumental album. The album was nominated for a BBC Jazz Award 2006 and was selected as one of "100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World" by Jazzwise magazine.

"Polar Bear blast out of the past, full of straight, cool school skills, and detonate the past, bursting with edgy, forward-looking lust." [Observer Music Monthly]

"[The album] explores a mix of trance-like, long-note music over eerie, hypnotic grooves, full-on electronics and free-improv, melancholic songs, punky thrashes and some of the best two-sax conversation to be heard on the current scene." [The Guardian]



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here's a recent interview with Seb, previewing their Glasgow Jazz Festival show

Sunday Herald: Arts: Culture

Eclectic rhythms

Polar Bears fusion of jazz and electronica is all about improvisation by Allan Burnett

IT'S WELL after midday and jazz musician Seb Rochford is still lounging about his London pad in his dressing gown, curtains drawn. By 1950s jazz standards, when trumpeters and saxophonists would roll out of bed at teatime to begin an all-night jamming session, it's practically dawn.

"I'm really excited to be playing Glasgow," says Rochford sleepily. The Aberdeen-born, multi-award-winning musician is one of the highlights of the Glasgow Jazz Festival, which he will play next weekend at the city's Tron Theatre with his Mercury Prize-nominated band, the experimental acoustic-electronic outfit Polar Bear. "We'll try to keep it spontaneous," he says, enthusiasm growing with each waking moment. "The main thing is to always try something new so that every gig is different from the last."

Unusually for a front man, Rochford is a drummer. But cast any chilling thoughts of Phil Collins from your mind. For a start, Rochford has hair - and how. The 34-year-old's explosion of thick, wiry locks is testament to his roots in more ways than one; he has an English father and an Anglo-Indian mother, the latter introducing him to jazz records and Stevie Wonder while he was still a death-metal obsessed kid knocking around with a couple of bands in Aberdeen.


As alluded to by the name of one of the other musical projects he takes part in, Acoustic Ladyland, Rochford and his splendid hair wouldn't have been out of place in the Jimi Hendrix Experience - although Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell would have had something to say about a man of Rochford's talent rivalling him for skin-battering duties.

That talent extends beyond wielding a hot pair of sticks. Rochford writes Polar Bear's material - sax, trombone, clarinet, guitar, double bass, the lot. His latest musical vision is realised on Polar Bear's new album, which comes out on July 14. So how does this record differ from Polar Bear's previous long-player, Held On The Tips Of Fingers? "The last album was short with some electronics on it; this one's very long and we now have electronics on everything," says Rochford. "This time around I still wrote all the music, but there are two or three tracks on which we improvised together."

You might expect Rochford to lay down his beats before thinking about anything else, but then you'd be surprised. "Rhythm is usually the last thing I think about," he says. "I often start by singing a tune and then work out everybody else's parts." Using his tom toms to navigate the sound spectrum, Rochford takes listeners on a journey from ambient, electronic psychedelia - check out Tomlovesalicelovestom - through to the urgent, punky, hip-hop-infused Fluffy I Want You.

Some critics have decided that Polar Bear's hugely eclectic sound - and that word really does apply here - is too big for jazz. Hence the pretentious-sounding term "post-jazz" that the group has been tagged with. So how does Rochford describe it? "I think it still is jazz, even though it has influences from other music. I'm not deliberately trying to create a fusion. Jazz has always mixed up different elements."

As far as Rochford is concerned, if there is a lot of improvisation on a record, then it's jazz - and Polar Bear love to improvise. "I like to have a feeling that people are being spontaneous and that everybody in the band likes each other as people. It doesn't matter how good players are. There needs to be chemistry between them."

Over the years, Rochford's ability to create the right kind of chemistry has got him session work with a diverse range of musicians. Take Pete Doherty, for example, with whom Rochford has worked as drummer on a few Babyshambles tracks.

So was Doherty the drug-addled, tuneless layabout of tabloid lore? An egotistical nightmare to work with? "I really enjoyed playing with Pete a lot," says Rochford without hesitation. "He was a very charming, funny guy. His lyric writing is amazing."

Rochford has also recently worked with Herbie Hancock, the legendary pianist behind such 1970s jazz-funk classics as Headhunters. A taped jam involving Hancock and Brian Eno was sent to Rochford, who then played on it before it was sent back to Hancock. "Even though I wasn't in the same room, I'm still improvising to what they're doing. I didn't really think till after the recording - wow, I've just been playing along to Herbie Hancock. He's my favourite ever piano player."

Equally at home working with upstarts or veterans, Rochford hopes the audience that comes to watch Polar Bear at The Tron will be of all ages and all musical persuasions. "People come to our gigs with their parents," he says. "That's the best thing that can happen. People should just enjoy music and not worry about whether it's cool or not."

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Guest idol_wild

All gig attendees should stick around afterwards 'cos I am dj'ing.

Come see my mad track selecting skillz.

Can't make the gig, however. Don't you just hate mothers birthdays? :down:

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