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Preview Polar Bear

Mercury nominated favourites experiment with sound

Preview: Polar Bear

Polar bears are actually black. Yup, pull out all that white hair and you’ll find black skin underneath. That is to say they’re not what they seem. They look all cute and cuddly but they could potentially rip your head off.

Creative masterminds Polar Bear are not about to rip your head off but they might leave your ears a little in awe trying to absorb all the elements of their music. They’ve been (lazily) described as ‘post-jazz’, but that kind of wishy-washy description doesn’t do justice to what Polar Bear offer; in fact, it’s hard to pin down their sound, which is what makes them one of the most exciting acts on the UK scene.

In a nutshell, Polar Bear’s exemplary musicians mix all kinds of jazz (and don’t let that word scare you off) with electronica, break-beat and rock rhythms, creating an innovative experience.

Polar Bear began to garner attention in 2004 when they were nominated in the ‘Best Band’ category at the BBC Jazz Awards. Following the small scale success of their first album, their second record, Held on the Tips of Fingers, catapulted them into the public eye in 2005 as a Mercury nomination tends to do. The eclectic mix of sounds and genres helped the album become a massive crossover hit, especially considering it was almost entirely instrumental. Further award nominations followed and Jazzwise magazine proclaimed it to be one of the “100 Jazz Albums That Shook the World”. Their latest eponymous album was released in 2008 and offers more aural adventures.

At the time of writing, polar bears are not admitted to the Howard Assembly Room. They probably can’t deal with small change in any case.

27 November, 8pm, Howard Assembly Room, £8

Posted on Wednesday 18th November 2009
Alison Hargreaves

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