Good Music, Properly Played
Big Bear Records, probably the longest established independent record company in the UK, have been at the forefront of Jazz, Swing and Blues since 1968.
The company was named Big Bear by legendary radio producer John Peel who thought the gait of the label's founder, Jim Simpson, resembled that of a bear. The label grew out of Simpson's production company which has steered Black Sabbath through their first three years and the best 3 albums of their career.
Initially recording U.S. Bluesmen, the label's repertoire quickly expanded first to include such significant West Midlands bands as Muscles, The Quads, Garbo's Celluloid Heroes, The Gangsters and Mel Gaynor's Zulu.
From 1985, Big Bear Records began to establish it's reputation as the home of great jazz, blues and swing with King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, Kenny Baker's Dozen, Clark Terry Big Bird Band, Bruce Adams / Alan Barnes Quintet, Lady Sings The Blues, Alan Barnes All-Stars, Duncan Swift, Bill Allred’s Good Time Jazz, and many more.
The next wave of signings came with the dawn to the millennium with Tipitina, Dr. Teeth Big Band, Django’s Castle and The Nomy Rosenberg Trio.
So take a browse around and find out what we’ve been doing over 40 years of Straining Up Under The Bear – and don’t stay away to long, there’s always something new in The Bear’s Lair.
Save The Dates!
The Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival returns for it's 29th edition from July 5-14th, once again bringing you free, top drawer live music across the city. Save the dates, watch this space and take a look at our brand new photofilm