Polar Bear - Kicking The Senses

Polar Bear has been in the vanguard of the new wave of UK jazz groups to emerge over the past five years. Led by drummer Seb Rochford, the band appeals to both jazz and rock audiences but became known to a still wider audience when its second album Held On The Tips Of Fingers was Mercury nominated. Switching labels, from Babel Records to V2, for its latest album, as yet untitled, Andy Robson catches up with the band members on the eve of the album’s launch.

Bobby Hutcherson - The right vibe

Bobby Hutcherson stands tall in the pantheon of the vibraphone in jazz, his name is up there will all the greats stretching back to Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson and inspiring later generations of players such as Orphy Robinson and Stefon Harris. In a rare interview, Hutcherson talks to Keith Shadwick about his heyday with the Blue Note label, the great friendships he built up with Andrew Hill and Eric Dolphy and the way his music has developed over a long career in jazz

John Etheridge - Changing man

One of the most respected musicians of his generation John Etheridge has never been one to restrict himself to one musical context. His career has seen him in a multitude of musical situations from playing with Soft Machine to French violin legend Stéphane Grappelli to his Zappa project the Zappatistas and with classical guitarist John Williams. As the latest release by the Soft Machine Legacy band is released, Duncan Heining looks back with John on some career highs and one or two lows.

Gwilym Simcock - Keys to the city

The name Gwilym Simcock has been on everyone’s lips on the UK jazz scene over the last few years. The pianist emerged fully formed after a dazzling spell at music college with a firm classical and jazz grounding and then quickly found his feet winning prizes, playing with legendary jazz figures like Kenny Wheeler and Dave Holland and quickly making a reputation for himself as an extraordinary new talent, making him the most talked about pianist in the UK since the early days of Django Bates. Stuart Nicholson meets him in the recording studio as he prepares to move his career one step further on with the making of his first album.

Iain Ballamy - Mainstream Interruptus

Iain Ballamy emerged from the seminal 1980s big band Loose Tubes as one of the stars of his generation of UK jazz musicians. A dazzling soloist with a recognisable sound and a soft “English” sense of playing, equally capable of responding to the humour and eccentricity of his homeland as much as possessing the ability to deliver a Coltrane-inspired solo line just as a leading American player could do. As his solo career developed he made his name with the inspired records Balloon Man and All Men, Amen while also contributing to Bill Bruford’s Earthworks and Django Bates’ Human Chain as well as finding new directions with his Anglo-Norwegian group Food. In recent years his recording activity has dwindled to a trickle so it is with considerable anticipation that greets the release of his new record More Jazz in the company of his group Anorak out this month. But what has changed since Ballamy’s last outing? Interview: Stuart Nicholson

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