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A saxophone-heavy quartet centered around drummer Seb Rochford and his striking and unusual compositions, British outfit Polar Bear forged a unique experimental post-jazz sound on the way to critical accolades and a 2005 Mercury Prize nomination. Rochford's creations veer from gentle, low-key, quasi-melodic charm to gypsy hoedowns to latter-day Coltrane-esque deconstructions. All the while, Mark Lockheart and Pete Wareham's saxes weave around one another as Rochford and bassist Tom Herbert (also of indie art rockers the Invisible) lay down an insistent bottom. ~ Jason Thurston
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