• Polar Bear / The Bamboos / Billy Cobham & Asere

    20 May 2007, 12:03 by Rapscallion87

    Wed 16 May – Polar Bear

    Comprised of two saxophonists, a drummer, bassist and electronic effects guru, Polar Bear are definitely one of the most progressive jazz groups around at the moment. They played the Colston Hall bar on May 16 to an audience mostly made up of older jazz fans looking for something new, with a few younger people who obviously identified with the more fusional facets of their distinctive sound.

    Their music represents a form of organised chaos - the audience has absolutely no idea what's going on most of the time, but the band maintains a rigid tight sound and flawless collective timing. They were mostly playing material from their new album, which is recorded but without a name (as are many of the tracks) or any of the album artwork, as well as a few from Held on the Tips of Fingers such as Beartown and The King of Aberdeen.

    The excellent leader Sebastian Rochford on drums, sporting an attention-grabbing flamboyant hairstyle, provided the rhythmic foundations with bassist Tom Herbert. …
  • Celebrating Brit Jazz

    8 Nov 2005, 15:08 by SoloBassSteve

    never let it be said that Britain doesn't have a vibrant and burgeoning jazz scene.

    Mark Lockheart is one of the busiest and most respected sax players in the country, and for his current tour he's assembled a fantastic group featuring four marvellous saxophonists with a killer rhythm section. It's pretty rare to see four sax players in a contemporary jazz setting in the UK - it's not often that anyone can afford to take that kind of project on the road, but Mark has managed it.

    Due to my having a gig on the same night, I wasn't able to make it to the London gig next thursday, so I headed out to Oxford to see 'Mark Lockheart's Big Idea' play at The Spin, a weekly jazz gig at The Wheatsheaf in Oxford. I'd heard a lot about the gig from friends who'd played there, so was looking forward to checking out the venue too.

    The gig was fantastic - playing mainly music from Mark's latest album Moving Air, with Mark, Julian Siegel , Steve Buckley and Rob Townsend on saxes and bass clarinets…