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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 18 September 2004
This is a wonderful example the new London jazz sound, with references to Coltrane and 60's jazz but more disciplined and ensemble-focused - it could be called 'post-jazz' I guess, with a mellowness that would be cool at the proverbial dinner-party - it has a wider appeal than to just jazz-buffs. The pieces are tightly arranged, and the 'limitations' of two horns with no piano or guitar become one of the album's strengths - intriguing two part horn harmonies running like a thread tying up all the pieces. We get the usual sublime Seb Rochford drums - kind of loose but always on the case and great Max Roach-like dynamics on the rolls - the tunes are all by him as well and for me this was a revelation - I didn't expect his compositions to reach this level. The production is great and sounds like the pro-tools crowd didn't get a look-in - I haven't heard acoustic instruments sound this good. Great charisma, great artwork, go ahead buy it!
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on 8 January 2006
This is a great album of quite unconventional and daring music from seb Rochford.An all acoustic lineup of 2 tenor saxes,bass and drums makes the whole thing harmonically sparse but the musicians make up for that with the interplay of the two front line sax men.most of the pieces are of a fairly slow tempo and i guess for me,what loses that 5th star is the fact that whilst the music is creative and cutting edge it is a little too mournfull and bleak at times.An alto or soprano sax would have given things a wellcome change of pace but that aside this is a superb album which i guess has roots in many different kinds of music.The saxophone playing is heavily Coltrane influenced,the percussion is quite sparse and loose and the bass plays a much bigger role in this kind of music than merely being part of the rhythm section.There are elements of Ornette Coleman,Bad Plus, John Coltrane and a bit of grunge rock added to this eclectic mix.Rochford and his band mates are all rock influenced musicians so i guess that is their primary influence but have cleverly mixed jazz,a wide set of rhythmic influences and rock music into something pretty damn good.
If you enjoy this c.d you should also check out "Indigo" by Byron Wallen which precedes this album by several years and is stylistically very similar.
Great stuff boys.
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on 21 October 2010
This band came at me out of the Spotify ether - you gotta love that 'related artists' function. Great 'post jazz', absent of cliche, but somehow immediately accessible. I bought all of their stuff in one go and I'm playing the four albums on heavy rotation. Caught them live at Warwick Arts Centre; loved it, and with Seb's hair and the demeanor of the taller of the two tenor sax players, strangely reminiscent of series two of The Mighty Boosh - surreal jazz heaven!
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on 27 May 2004
Seb Rochford's band Polar Bear is one of the best bands in London at the moment. The album reflects this, very impressive.
With guys like Mark Lockheart, Pete Wareham and Tom Herbert in your band and Rochford's groove and ideas, you cant really go wrong.
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