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Leb I Sol

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Leb I Sol Leb I Sol album cover
4.06 | 66 ratings | 11 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Devetka (4:30)
2. Pod vodom (4:58)
3. Utrinska tema (3:20)
4. Kokoska (5:00)
5. Nisam tvoj (3:20)
6. U senci
7. Cudo za tri dana (2:50)
8. Pesma o sonji H... (5:09)
9. Damar (3:28)

Total Time: 36:16

Line-up / Musicians

- Vlatko Stefanovski / guitar, vocals
- Nikola Dimusevski / keyboards
- Bodan Arsovski / bass
- Garabet Tavitijan / drums

Releases information

LP PGP RTB ‎- LP 5319 (1978, Yugoslavia)

CD Taped Pictures ‎- CD 2036 (2000, Slovenia) Bundled with 1978 album "2" on one single disc

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LEB I SOL Leb I Sol ratings distribution

(66 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

LEB I SOL Leb I Sol reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Very good debut album! "Devetka" was the first major composition by LEB I SOL using the peculiar Macedonian odd time signature (the nine in this case). "Nisam tvoj" was one of the three vocal tracks on the album, being the first major hit. "Kokoska" carries the crazy solos on guitar and piano, while "Damar" was another proto-type of their melodic instrumental which would be frequntly used on the subsequent albums. Stefanovski is already here a developed guitarist with unique style and virtuosity although in some moments his playing is too flat and rather mechanical. Josip Bocek, ex-KORNI GRUPA guitarist, was producer but he could not be too proud of his work here. The album was recorded in September 1977 in Novi Sad after only several concerts. SMAK's "Crna dama" LP was released shortly before "Leb i sol" to firmly establish the fusion path on which the Macedonian wizards would follow on. If only the production was better this would have been a candidate for a higher rating... . Still, this is a firm 3,5 stars !!! It is available on a "2LP on1CD" reissue coupled with "Leb i sol 2" (T.Pics/PGP RTS, CD 2036, 2000) so you better go and get it!
Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This review is dedicated to my old acquaintance, Sonja H.

What a debut, what a band! They sound like they re-invented some genres and fused them in a unique way..well, they did. LEB I SOL is a band that was always bordering between fusion and (Balkan) folk. They were riding on that thine line from the very beginnings - of course, inclining towards a more regressive dimension in the 80's - pop music. However, their entire career is worth checking, and the first two albums are the best.

They were not the pioneers in incorporating Balkan scales and odd meters in rock music (check SMAK), but what they did was never heard before and never surpassed, not even today.

The albums starts with "Devetka" ("Nine"), cool, almost funky groove on Hohner clavinet in 9/4 (or slow 9/8) and tight drum playing, with layers of shifted/delayed guitar melody (borrowed from the old Macedonian folk tune). Delay effect is very simple, I dare to say primitive, but the effect is great. Koki's ornamenting with sparkling electric piano and his trademark portamento synth (Sequential Pro-One, if I'm not much mistaken) solos. A great start.

"Pod Vodom" ("Under The Water") has opening melody in a Balkan folk vein (although in 4/4), but the rest of the songs continues towards furious jazz-rock, with jazzy solos on keys and remarkable guitar melody. "Utrinska Tema" ("Utrina Theme") is the first of three numbers with vocals. Vlatko, the guitar player, was taking the role of singer when necessary, and he is not an outstanding singer by no means - but his voice is pleasant and non-pretentious. It would be a bit too much to expect from an outstanding guitar player to be a great vocal performer too, however, this song is beautiful (melody) although it seems a bit undeveloped (fade out occurs during the guitar solo).

After the fade out, a drum solo! Oh, how I hate drum solos.

This one is one-minute intro to "Kokoska" ("Chicken"), which is, in my opinion, one of the best songs in the history of progressive rock. I can easily forgive the drum solo, it's really impressive anyway. I won't go into an in-depth analysis of my darling, but just to let you know, this is the PORTRAIT, they managed to portrait a chicken with musical instruments, with octave jumps on Clavinet, with 7/8+9/8 killing section that sounds really like a chicken, pointlessly walking around and searching for food.

After that, "Nisam Tvoj" ("I'm Not Yours") is just a beautiful love ballad, nothing less, nothing more. It won't mean much if you don't know the language. However, electric piano is following the vocal melody...just perfectly. Pay attention.

"U Senci" ("In The Shadow") is a bit below par with the rest of the songs: it's not bad at all - it contains the same furious jazz-rock energy as "Pod Vodom", and some folk-based ultra-fast guitar licks, but sounds like a mixture of Weather Report, Return To Forever, Mahavishnu - you name it, and hell, it reminds a bit too much of Billy Cobham's "Magic" (released the same year).

"Cudo Za Tri Dana" (I don't know how to translate the figure of speech - literally "A Miracle For Three Days") is fortunately short (less than 3 minutes) and it's just a bland attempt of the band to make a sweet ballad - lyrics are atrocious. However, I will forgive it because of a few nice Mellotron layers and a certain spleen of naive, not so untypical in Yugoslavian songs of the era.

"Pesma O Sonji H." ("The Song About Sonja H.") is down-tempo jazz ballad, perhaps a tad unpolished. Koki contributes with gorgeous piano section, a bit tacky though.

Finally, "Damar". to translate it? Never mind. A brilliant jazzy tune with hard 'n' heavy edge, powerful soloing, and great driving, high-pitched bass.

In conclusion, this album is a milestone of progressive rock in former Yugoslavia; a new expression that will leave significant traces in contemporary music from prog to blend pop up to this day; the debut of the legends. I can't express enough how this debut was significant and influential.

And it deserves very special place in my heart, too. However (sigh), I can't force myself to rate it with five stars. In more than a one way it, is a masterpiece. But there are a few flaws that are setting the scale just a little bit below the 4,5 line. Anyway, don't hesitate to get it. It's mandatory.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Leb i Sol is a Yugoslavian group led by guitarist Vlatko Stefanovski who was but 20 years old in 1977 and achieved a mature should of someone much older. This is mostly instrumental jazz rock with melody and fluid guitar solos and outstanding drumming. I also think the group would appeal outside of jazz rock circles to symphonic fans, as the Leb i Sol sound often reminds me of '70s era Camel but from a jazzier perspective. The bass player clearly recalls Ferguson, and the guitar playing sometimes can remind me of Latimer. While there are occasional good keyboard moments the big fish here is definitely the lead electric soloing of Stefanovski who is really amazing. He will land some punches. The band incorporates elements of the traditional music of their homeland into their sound as well giving it a flavor all its own. I believe that Leb i Sol should be of special interest to fans of my beloved PA namesake group Finnforest, their debut albums share a similar stylistic ground. Vlatko has given as personal influences Joni Mitchell (a very special one for her work with Methany, Pastorius, Mingus, and Shorter) and also The Beatles, Yes, Focus, Mahavishnu, Cream, Corea, Holdsworth, and Akerman.

A brief bit of early history from their website: "In the first half of the seventies of the last century, the music scene in Skopje was rather small so the future members of the LEB I SOL often worked in same bands. On 1st January 1976 Vlatko and Bodan founded LEB I SOL. together with the keyboard player Kokan Dimushevski and the drum player Dimitrije Chochorovski. They had the first performance out of Macedonia in 1977 in Novi Sad. Based on that footage they were invited at the Youth Festival in Subotica. There they won a prize and were widely acknowledged for the fist time and they signed a contract with PGP-RTS. LEB I SOL recorded their debut album LEB I SOL 1 at the studio of RTV Novi Sad in September 1977. The jazz-rock themes with ethno influences dominate the album, and six themes out of nine are instrumental. All four of the members are composing, though Vlatko is the most productive one." [Leb i Sol bio]

"Devetka" has one of the more memorable opening licks to a career, really nice stuff. It then starts to cross layer different guitar parts to a very nice effect, with the steady beat of Tavitijan keeping things perky. The ensemble playing of all four is quite remarkable for a young group's debut. Sadly the song is a fade out as will others be. "Pod Vodom" is some really driving fusion stuff, this is what you call firing on all cylinders, cooking with gas, choose your cliché. Lightning fast guitar and keyboard runs in unison, challenging each other to up the anty. YYZ fans would love this. "Utrinska Tema" gives you a rest with an acoustic, rather folkish number with vocals. The singing is pleasant enough but nothing great, but it doesn't need to be here. This is all about the band's prowess. "Kokoska" is a quirky, fun rocker. Read Moris' review for his analysis of the music portraying a chicken, which was an excellent observation. "Nisam Tvoj" has a very commercial sound but even here they touch it up with nice light mellotron in the background. "U senci" just cooks, think of some of these insanely technical shredders we have around these days, but the beauty here is that the lightning notes are used more judiciously and against the backdrop of the marvelously warm '70s sound. The sound is so warm and organic and it does not suffer from the modern day annoyance of the drums always being so damn loud in the mix. "Cudo za tri dana" begins with acoustic guitar and a gentle vocal, after a bit the mellotron comes in and it is gorgeous. A total guilty pleasure solo ensues, it's just a short feel good track. "Pesma" is delightfully slow and melodic, alternating what I believe to be flute played on keys with piano and guitar, with nimble and clear bass lines you can really hear. Great interplay, everyone really playing off the others. "Damar" is an upbeat track but not among the best in this set. describes the group's sound like this: "Nothing in the world sounds like the band Leb i Sol. Period. For 20 years-as long as the band existed-it created music that was dynamic, turbulent, complex and soulful. Most importantly, the band drew upon jazz, rock and traditional Macedonian music, and later it helped in the popularization of traditional music in the Balkans during a period when the genre called "world music" didn't exist and when traditional music was thought to be un-cool."

Stefanovski himself told an AAJ interviewer "Leb i Sol was a band that at the time was superior when it came to its playing capabilities. We laid the foundations for what in the Balkans is known as ethnic or world music. We approached the folklore in a very spontaneous and brave manner, while retaining our image of a rock'n'roll band. Although we had an image like that still the music was totally different, authentic and pure. Intuitively, it was a totally unconscious decision and we had no idea that it will be given such enormous importance. I think that's a healthy approach towards the tradition i.e. one must not be entrapped by it nor one should be afraid of it. One has to use what is given to him, without any stress or fear that he might make a mistake. Off course, the responsibility is enormous when it comes to dealing with Macedonian folklore as it is very rich, colorful and precise and one should not play too much with it. I have a very laid back approach towards that folklore. I know it as much as I know it and i don't know it as much as i don't. I hope to get to know it more every day. For St. Nicholas (their family saint), we had a family reunion and believe me for 3 hours people sang songs that I never heard before. I just stood there listening to songs that are archaic and totally forgotten. But some of my relatives knew these songs. That's incredible, and all of this is passed on to our children." []

You just can't go wrong with this no matter your taste, unless you dislike emotional instrumental (mostly) rock of the highest quality. Leb i Sol's debut is music that soars very high, instrumental rock akin to fine wine that will have jazz and rock lovers alike putting this on their "special shelf."

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fantastic jazz/rock outfit coming from Skopje and formed in 1976 by guitar hero Vlatko Stefanovski and bassist Bodan Arsovski.After a couple of succesful singles,some intense live performances and a winning prize at the Youth Festival in Subotica,LEB I SOL recorded their debut at the studio of RTV Novi Sad in September 77'.

The album is a mixed work of trully amazing guitar-led compositions and some mellow vocal tracks.Stefanovki is in great form,presenting an unbelievably mature and unique style of playing characterized by his twisted breaks and inspired solos.Too often I recognize an evident ethnic feeling,especially during his solos.The guitar/keyboard interplays between Stefanovski and keyboardist Koki Dimusevski are very nice,following mainly a fast tempo.Dimusevski fills the sound with a succesful series of alternating keyboard work,including electric piano,synths and delicate mellotron.Comparisons?...hard to make...Maybe a Yugoslavian edition and mix of WEATHER REPORT,GENTLE GIANT and BRAND X would be a good description...At the end,I find this debut to be surprisingly captivating,challenging,mature and progressive.This can't be translated to anything else than my strongest recommendation!!

Review by friso
4 stars Leb I Sol is a charming Yugoslavian fusion prog group with an amazing guitarist, Vlatko Stefanovski. Some-one to mention along side with jazz-rock guitarist like Jan Akkerman (Focus), Jukka Tolonen (Tasavallan PresidenttiI) and Antymos Apostolis (SBB). Leb I Sol plays instrumental fusion prog pieces and some well composed and moody ballads with vocals in their mother tongue. The influences of Mahavishnu are clearly there, but these tracks are more like compositions that offer a lot of melody. The interplay of the Fender Rhodes and the guitar is tasteful and the rhythmical section offers fast paced jazz en funk. The prog comes from the musicianship, some distinctive moods, the adventitious nature of the compositions and the well though out structures. The recording quality is quite good and the original vinyl sound great (which is not always the case of records from Eastern Europe). Sort of a gem that you are guarantied to enjoy if you like jazz rock of fusion prog.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars What an excellent debut from this Yugoslavian band that was released back in the latter half of the seventies. I was reminded of SMAK and SYNKOPY at times with their steller instrumental work and enjoyable vocal tracks.

"Devetka" gets things started with laid back guitar and piano before the clavinet arrives.This is all so inventive and it sounds really good too. I like the electric piano and bass around 2 1/2 minutes as well. "Pod Vodom" is more uptempo and the electric piano is fantastic. Guitar and piano take turns leading the way. "Utrinska Tema" features vocals for the first time. This is a relaxed song with piano,drums and vocals leading.The bass becomes prominant later on.

"Kokoska" opens with a good drum show then the guitar and bass come in after a minute then keyboards. Clavinet and guitar follow. "Nisam Tvon" is mellow with vocals, piano and drums. It gets fuller as contrasts continue. "U Senci" features some killer guitar a minute in then it settles right down before 2 minutes. It kicks back in late. "Cudo Za Tri Dana" opens with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals.Synths wash in then it kicks in to a fuller sound at 2 minutes. "Pesma O Sonji H..." is laid back with piano. Flute comes and goes. It picks up 3 1/2 minutes in but not for long. Not a fan of this one. "Damar" becomes uptempo and synths wash in after 3 minutes.

A solid 4 stars and a worthy addition to any collection. A very talented band.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Out of all the satellite nations of the Soviet Union perhaps none escaped the extreme censorship of the arts more than the former nation of Yugoslavia which since the collapse of the once almighty empire has itself disintegrated into the seven nation states of Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and the republic of Macedonia which in 2019 was renamed to Northern Macedonia due to a long feud with Greece over the Greek province of the same name. While still united under the banner of Yugoslavia, this region boasted one of the most vibrant rock scenes in all of Eastern Europe and while many such nations were struggling to get bootlegs of Western acts, the Yugoslav rock scene featured some of the most sophisticated prog and jazz-fusion bands of all.

One of the most successful of these bands was the Macedonian LEB I SOL which formed in Skopje in 1976 with its initial lineup of Vlatko Stefanovski (guitar and vocals), Bodan Arsovski (bass), Nikola Dimu?evski (keyboards) and Dimitar Čočorovski (drums) but Čočorovski was soon replaced by Garabet Tavitijan and the lineup would be stable until 1980 when the band recorded its first three albums which would feature an interesting mix of jazz-rock fusion with local homegrown influences in the form of Macedonian folk. The band's name LEB I SOL translates into "bread and salt" which is used as a greeting in the Macedonian language. This band became very popular in the 70s and 80s due to its creative arrangements and outstanding musicianship. The tracks are both vocal and instrumental with the vocal-free ones cranking out some of the most dynamic prog workouts while the vocal led tracks being the most singer / songwriter oriented.

This debut album was recorded in Novi Sad and released in September 1977 and cranks out some of the best jazz-fusion recordings i've heard from the former Eastern European block with Stefanovski showcasing his guitar wizardry along with the keyboard prowess of Nikola Dimu?evski delivering some of the most memorable workouts. The folk music of the Balkan region is already jazz-flavored and therefore the sounds of LEB I SOL mixing American jazz sounds with rock and its local folk flavors is quite the successful recipe for some stellar proggy workouts with accessible melodies ramped up by the jazzy chord progressions and energetic rock rhythmic drive. The tracks alternate between these fiery passionate instrumentals on overdrive starting with the opener "Devetka" and the acoustic guitar oriented slower ballads like "Ultrinska Tema" which feature Stefanovski on vocals. These vocal tracks sound a lot like some of the prog folk bands from 70s Argentina.

Unlike Western prog, these Eastern bands performed exclusively in their native tongues and since LEB I SOL was limited to the confines of the Yugoslav rock scene, the lyrics were performed exclusively in the official Yugoslav language of Serbo-Croatian (actually two languages but the former uses the Cyrillic alphabet while the former employs the Latin). LEB I SOL were primarily geared for live shows where they dazzled the crowds with emotive songs as well as sizzling instrumental virtuosity however much of this translates quite well into the band's recordings as this debut release perfectly displays what made this band so exemplary for a time and place that found just enough Western influences to make the connection to artists such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra and John Abercrombie's various acts. LEB I SOL also had firm control over excellent shifts in tempos, dynamics and other creative colorful expressions that really stands out from any Western equivalents. This was the start of one of Eastern Europe's most successful prog bands and a great place to start if you are interested in this region of the world's contributions to the richness of the greater prog universe.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The Yugoslavian version of RTF??? Wow I have been a prog head for years since I was about 12 yrs old and haven't heard these guys til this week.... the first 3 albums are just awesome. And you cant not think about rtf when you hear the exchange of solos between the keys and guitar in certai ... (read more)

Report this review (#241642) | Posted by smuggledmutation | Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This one comes from south Balkan, from beautifull country, Macedonia (Former Yugoslavian Republic, not Greece Macedonia). Leb i Sol are stil enough unique, although there are several bands that are close to this music. Devetka is instrumental work, whose keyboards remind me on Camel, and electri ... (read more)

Report this review (#129807) | Posted by nisandzic | Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is an excellent debut from the ultra talented Macedonian Quarter Leb i Sol. The debut album is full of good tunes, crazy solos, great musicianship, and lays the groundwork on which they will build during the next two albums. The album kicks off with the band's first recorded song, ... (read more)

Report this review (#116333) | Posted by AberDojdeDonke | Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Incredible debut from the Skopje-based quartet Leb I Sol. Each track has it's own distinctive feel. "Devetka" is the most impressive number which combines a folk inspired melody on guitar with the jazz keyboard improvisation a'la Chick Corea by Kokan Dimushevski. "Nisam tvoj" is the best early so ... (read more)

Report this review (#39728) | Posted by | Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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