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Polar Bear PEEPERS Vinyl Record

Polar Bear PEEPERS Vinyl Record
Categorizing Sebastian Rochford poses problems. Jazz is at the heart of his work, yet his understanding of and engagement with a wide range of genres are such that it's impossible to shoehorn his recordings into neat and tidy boxes. Peepers is Rochford's fourth album as the leader and percussionist of the London-based Polar Bear, alongside collaborators Leafcutter John, Tom Herbert, Pete Wareham, and Mark Lockheart. More than its predecessors (2004's Dim Lit, 2005's Mercury Prize-nominated Held on the Tips of Fingers, and 2008's Polar Bear), Peepers sounds very close to a live Polar Bear performance. The album has moments of unbridled joy--like the euphoric "Happy for You"--where the whole band bounces on a rock beat without resorting to cliche. In the front line, the two tenor saxophones create prickly, grainy timbres and also let rip with solos that contrast the marked difference in tone between the two players. Elsewhere, "The Love Didn't Go Anywhere" sees Leafcutter John play guitar on a beautifully loping piece that has the subtle afterglow of classic Roxy Music, with Bryan Ferry's vocal replaced by the rapier glide of the two reeds, while Tom Herbert's hefty double bass pounds out concise but penetrating lines. In the last few years, Rochford has garnered some impressive acclaim, including a BBC Jazz Awards Rising Star award and the inclusion of Held on the Tips of Fingers in Jazzwise magazine's "100 Jazz Albums That Shook the World" and The Guardian's "1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die." He has performed with everyone from Joanna MacGregor, Andy Sheppard, Brian Eno, and David Byrne to Pete Doherty, and Herbie Hancock, and as part of Acoustic Ladyland and Basquiat Strings, as well as in his own projects Fulborn Teversham, Room of Katinas, and Big Dave.

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