Polar Bear is a British experimental jazz band led by drummer Seb Rochford with Pete Wareham on tenor and baritone saxophone, Mark Lockheart on tenor saxophone, Tom Herbert on double bass and Leafcutter John on mandolin and electronics.
Polar Bear were nominated for the 'Best band' award at the BBC Jazz Award 2004, while Rochford was nominated for the 'Rising Star' award. Their first album Dim Lit was released in the same year and was a small scale success. Their second record, Held on the Tips of Fingers merged elements of cool jazz, funk, dance music, free jazz, electronica and drum and bass and was, by comparison, a massive crossover hit, earning Polar Bear a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize in 2005.
The success was all the more unusual for an almost purely instrumental album. The album was nominated for a BBC Jazz Award 2006. It was selected as one of "100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World" by Jazzwise magazine. They are part of the F-IRE Collective. They released their self-titled third album, Polar Bear, in July 2008 with Tin Angel Records. Their fourth album, Peepers, was released in March 2010.