Sunday, July 20, 2008

Polar Bear at Crawdaddy (Dublin) - July 18, 2008

It is not often that you get t see jazz musicians of the calibre of Seb Rochford in Dublin. Last Friday Polar Bear gave the small crowd in Crawdaddy a rare treat. They played a short but very intense set of about 1 hr and 15 minutes which was mainly made of songs from their new album which was released barely a week ago. Each song included some improvisations and went on for considerably longer than the versions on the albums.

Seb Rochford is an incredibly talented drummer, who has worked with many people including Herbie Hancock and Brian Eno. I was fortunate to be standing about 2 meters from where he was playing and it was qute interesting to see how he kept the beat during the songs with his left foot on the hi-hat while the songs canged tempo. You know this is always going on when jazz is being played, but it is something else when you can see it first hand.

On the double bass Tom Herber didn't put a foot wrong, whether he was playing a walking bass line, a syncopated bass line or simply playing root notes. It has been a long time since I've seen a goof double bass player.

Leafcutter John was playing the mandolin and the "electronics", which basically means that he was triggering samples and noises through his powerbook. You can read more about him, ad the software he uses on the wikipedia and his own site. It blew me away, he was standing there with the laptop and at times he was sampling and playing what was happening on stage. At some point he was able to do a solo of something that soundes similar to a sax with the touchpad on his mac.

The group was rounded up by Mark Lockheart and Pete Wareham on tenor sax.

The setlist:

Hope every day is a happy new year
I am alive
Appears, moves and sails
The king of Aberdeen

To touch the red brick

The image comes from by Brian O'Connor, and yes, the hair looks bigger in person!