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LED BIB

RIO/Avant-Prog • United Kingdom


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Led Bib biography
Formed in 2003, Led Bib are one of the forerunners of the new British Jazz scene that is turning the genre on its head. With their quirky playfulness, punk rock aesthetics and avant-garde stylings they've garnered recognition around the Jazz world. In 2005 they won the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award for their debut Arboretum and in 2009 they earned a nomination for the Mercury Prize for Sensible Shoes. Taking influences from Ornette Coleman, John Zorn and New York experimentalism, they have earned a reputation for putting on energetic live shows. Performing in such high profile events as the reopening event for the Royal Festival Hall, a 1 hour session on BBC 3, and the 12 Points festival in Dublin where they represented Britain.This quintet, which consists of bandleader Mark Holub on drums, Liran Donin on electric/stand up bass, Toby McLaren on Rhodes Piano, and the dual saxes of Chris Williams and Pete Grogan are carving their own niche into the music world with their unique and energetic take on avant-garde jazz.

Thanks to Evolutionary Sleeper for the biography.

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LED BIB Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy LED BIB Music


It's MorningIt's Morning
Rarenoise Records 2019
$13.46
Sensible ShoesSensible Shoes
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$11.01
$7.00 (used)
Umbrella WeatherUmbrella Weather
Rarenoise Records 2017
$13.41
The People In Your NeighbourhoodThe People In Your Neighbourhood
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$13.13
Bring Your OwnBring Your Own
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$7.84
$5.98 (used)
Sizewell Tea by Led BibSizewell Tea by Led Bib
Babel
$150.88
Led Bib Sizewell Ten Other SwingLed Bib Sizewell Ten Other Swing
Records
$35.32
The Good EggThe Good Egg
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$21.60

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LED BIB discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LED BIB top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 4 ratings
Arboretum
2005
3.14 | 3 ratings
Sizewell Tea
2007
3.95 | 10 ratings
Sensible Shoes
2009
3.19 | 8 ratings
Bring Your Own
2011
4.09 | 4 ratings
The People In Your Neighbourhood
2014
4.00 | 1 ratings
Umbrella Weather
2017
4.00 | 1 ratings
It's Morning
2019

LED BIB Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 3 ratings
Led Bib Live!
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Good Egg
2014

LED BIB Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LED BIB Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LED BIB Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

LED BIB Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 It's Morning by LED BIB album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.00 | 1 ratings

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It's Morning
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Led Bib is a RIO/Avant Prog band that was founded in the UK in 2003. Their music takes on an experimental jazz style that has been recognized in the past by winning the Peter Whittingham jazz award for their debut album in 2005. Their 7th full length album, released in September of 2019, is called 'It's Morning' which consists of 9 tracks and has a total run time of just over 40 minutes. The core band for this album consists of 6 musicians, namely Sharron Fortnam of North Sea Radio Orchestra on vocals, Chris Williams on alto sax, Pete Grogan on alto and tenor saxes, Elliot Galvin on keys and piano, Liran Donin on bass and Mark Holub on drums. Guest musicians also include Jack Hues on vocals, Susanna Gartmayer on bass clarinet, Irene Kepl on violin and Noid on cello. This is the bands first time using vocals on their albums.

'Atom Story' (2:47) begins with oscillating keys playing a slow and sustained melody that almost sounds hymn-like and warped. Sharron's beautiful mezzo-soprano voice comes in half way through, maintaining the pensive softness of the track with the addition of more keys and piano, a bit of unsettling dissonance in the peaceful track. 'Stratford East' (5:32) contrasts the beauty of the first track by starting with a low frequency synth melody, thumping drums and a fast violin which echoes the melody and then embellishes on it. Soon the drums start to echo the notes of the violin, then a linear sounding vocal comes in following the violin note for note. The music takes on an eclectic jazz style showing off the bands penchant for the art jazz sound they are famous for. After the vocals break, a wild sax comes in spurred on by bass and wild drumming, and then another sax joins in takes a turn, while later they play together in contrasting and resolving lines. This continues when the vocals come in and the saxes begin to protest while another one follows the vocal melody note for note. It turns out to be quite a rousing affair of contrasts by the end.

'It's Morning' (0:39) consists of a tonic poem with bass clarinet and vocals. This short track is followed by the longest and most epic piece on the album 'Fold' (11:07). A simple melody from the synth is joined by a fuzzy drone and soft effects giving everything a pastoral and minimal feel. Unsettling effects start to threaten the simple tones. Contrasting layers build as bass notes and piano flourishes encourage the odd effects, and things turn full-on avant-garde as individual layers fight for control. The brassy sounds of the reeds fade in together sounding like they mean business, but instead of trampling on everything, they just take over meandering about. Soon, the other lines come back in as they all mix together again. The music remains quite loose and improvisational sounding, several lines of music where there is no one in particular in control, and this soon leads to a more chaotic sound as it goes on. This goes on until the 8 minute mark when things suddenly quiet down and vocals come in for the first time on the track. The non-melodic vocal starts a bit quiet and hesitant, but then gets support from instruments as they add in one by one, now following the vocal line and making sense out of it all. The vocals end but the music continues feeling now like it has had guidance from the vocal line, and that ends the track.

'Cutting Room Floor' (3:53) begins with a rat-a-tat percussion sound that gets joined by keys and sax, then vocals later. The track is a bit more melodic, in a traditional sense anyway, but is still anything but traditional. Then a spoken word section starts with male and female vocals speaking layered on each other as the music flows along underneath. The vocal melody returns later, and the music remains mostly soft and minimal, but then increases for a more climactic ending. 'To Dry in the Rain' (6:43) begins with slow piano and soft, jazzy vocals. The music takes its time and stays quite laid back as the vocals wander around a bit accompanied by a more rhythmic feel from the keys. Percussion provides a stable foundation after 3 minutes and that brings in the reeds. Layers upon layers build and the peacefulness turns into chaos taking the vocals along with them until they are swept away completely while the music continues, and then calms down leaving only a piano playing a lovely interlude by itself for the last few moments of the track.

'O' (4:39) takes the piano chords from the previous tracks and continues with them creating high-pitched shimmering sounds and oscillating synths to lay a foundation for new vocals. The piano-led track soon builds as drums and saxes come in and follow the vocal melody. The music thickens and teeters on the line of becoming chaotic, but not quite tipping over before it calms again and ends quickly. 'Flood Warning' (3:30) uses simple tonal percussion and a more upfront vocal. Odd drumming and other percussive instruments and saxes build the music without really solidifying it and avant jazz improvising cause the reeds to swirl around. This one becomes a bit more chaotic as the same melody continues in the vocals while the chaos rules the horns. 'Set Sail' (1:28) ends the album as it began, with a short, lovely vocal track underlayed by oscillating minimal synths.

This album is full of quirkiness and avant-jazz style minimalism interspersed with chaotic outbursts. The music is definitely progressive and different, following the impressionistic style, but adding good doses of improvisation based on modern- classical modes and scales. It all becomes a very unique sound, and the addition of Sharron's vocals in all of the tracks only add to the excellence of the entire package. Those that like their music dissonant and experimental will enjoy this, but it is probably a little too left of center for lovers of traditional sounds. I find it quite intriguing and am attracted to it's quirkiness, and the musicianship involved definitely make this a strong 4 star album.

 The People In Your Neighbourhood by LED BIB album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 4 ratings

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The People In Your Neighbourhood
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars

Released in the same year as the limited edition live 'The Good Egg', this 11 song seventy-two-minute long album is quite different. Although still incredibly avant-garde, progressive and insane, there is a far greater feeling of structure and control. The album title was inspired by a song from Sesame Street where the Muppets take people from different walks of life, from Ralph Nader to Martina Navratilova, and sing a song about how they are people from your neighbourhood. "Hey, an avant-jazz band are also the people in your neighbourhood," band founder Mark Holub says.

With their unusual line-up, the guys have managed to capture the essence of bands as diverse as Can and Art Zoyd, with Zappa also being thrown into the mix. This is not easy listening music, and was never meant to be, but has taken improvisation as a base and have then built on that to create something that is full of energy and is twisting and turning as it burrows its way into your mind like a corkscrew. Many people will find music as challenging as this to be something that needs to be avoided at all costs, yet I find myself being drawn to it like a moth to a blowtorch. This is all about upsetting the considered norms and taking the music when it needs to go, like a living breathing snake that is shifting its coils as it tries to decide whether to bite you and put you out of your misery quickly, or to constrict you until all breath leaves the body.

Jazz and RIO are combining to create something very special indeed, and musical explorers should seek this out.

 The Good Egg by LED BIB album cover Live, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Good Egg
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars

Drummer Mark Holub founded Led Bib in 2003 for his MA project at Middlesex University in North London, and the band made its auspicious debut on Feb. 24, 2004 (which happens to be Holub's birthday). Various players cycled through the band that first year, but by December the quintet's current line-up had solidified. Joining the Holub is bassist Liran Donin, keyboardist/pianist Toby McLaren and the potent alto sax tandem of Pete Grogran and Chris Williams. The unique instrumentation "makes us think differently about how the music's structured," Holub says. "You don't want to have two alto solos on every tune. We're more about group improvising, and developing tunes with sections that may or may not open up."

Musically, Led Bib sound quite unlike any other jazz band I have ever come across, with the rhythm section concentrating on one musical area, the twin sax something quite different, and Toby trying to keep it all together. His role is quite different to the normal keyboard player, as it feels that he more of the gel that keeps everything in place while the mayhem goes on around him, although he also joins in as well. This four-track thirty-three-minute-long album captures the band in their home environment, namely live in front of an audience where they can experiment and build from each other. Exciting and vibrant this 2014 album certainly won't be to everyone's tastes, but if you enjoy your jazz to be improvisational, avant-garde and progressing, then this could well be for you.

 Bring Your Own by LED BIB album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.19 | 8 ratings

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Bring Your Own
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Led Bib's fourth studio album, and second Cuneiform release, is an enjoyable slice of contemporary jazzy avant prog that never disappoints but which holds few surprises.

The London based quintet have made a few refinements to their formula. There are no cover versions this time around - previous releases have included interpretations of Talking Heads, David Bowie and Erik Satie - and drummer Mark Holub is no longer the sole composer, with three contributions from Tony McLaren and Chris Williams. They've also tightened up a little, with most of the pieces lasting from four to seven minutes and Hollow Ponds clocking in at just 2.41. Otherwise, though, it's business as usual. The heavier passages see the Fender Rhodes and bass drenched in distortion, while the more reflective moments feature Liran Donin on double bass (occasionally bowed), while Mark Holub is equally comfortable driving the beat forward or providing an almost featherweight pulse (but there's a definite preference for the former). The twin saxes provide sweet harmony, intricate counterpoint or discordant squalls as appropriate, and at its best there is an exhilerating rush underpinning everything. For all the dynamic range and instrumental dexterity, though, there aren't that many truly memorable hooks to be heard in these ten compositions; there's superlative riffing, dazzling ensemble playing and splendid flights of improvisation, but the melodic themes aren't necessarily going to stick in your consciousness for that long afterwards. For me the stand out track is Toby McLaren's Service Stop Saviour which, as on some their earlier albums, could almost be an out take from a particularly wild Soft Machine session circa 5 or even Henry Cow circa Leg End.

If you're new to Led Bib, this album is an excellent place to start, and if you're an established fan you'll know what to expect. This is a genuinely enjoyable and exciting album which serves as proof that jazz in the 3rd millennium is in rude health with an exciting future.

 Led Bib Live! by LED BIB album cover Live, 2007
4.05 | 3 ratings

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Led Bib Live!
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Two years after the were released debut album, Led Bib recorded and released 4- compositions short live album. Three songs came from debut album (one of them is is heavily reworked David Byrne's composition), and - " Stinging Nettle " will open band's second studio album ,released same year).

Comparing with same compositions on their debut album, the difference is really big. If their debut was in general avant-jazz band's album with elements of post-punk and some rock flavour, same material there sounds as explosive and noisy avant-rock mix on this live release. And it's really for good - musicians energy add to quite complex material drive it needed to be better accepted. Saxes sounds more aggressive, almost hysterical in moments, Rhodes passages return you back to the time of great progressive rock concerts. Quite clever and well invented music got there its blood and flesh.

Good if not too short release for fans of heavy avant-jazz based sax/Rhodes attacks filled modern avant prog. There band shows its real face and the sound will be exploited for some years to come.

My rating is 3,5, rounded to 4.

 Arboretum by LED BIB album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.09 | 4 ratings

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Arboretum
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Debut album from this London band wasn't very popular, but was noticed by many fans and critics. Guitar-less modern jazz quintet with two saxophones, acoustic/electric bass, drums and Rhodes,playing free jazz with strong punk-influences was really important new name on London's jazz scene.

In fact,looking from few years distance, it's easier to say they became one of cornerstone of London-based new wave of modern avant-jazz: half acoustic free-jazz with dirty punkish energy and aesthetics.

Fame came to the band in 2009, after " Sensible Shoes" album was released. Looking from now, their debut is much more jazzy, openly free-jazz oriented, with dominated energetic double saxes sound and space full of vintage Rhodes keyboards. It's still a very jazz album, with feel-able roots in Wynton Marsalis and John Zorn both. But by their simplistic and catchy melodies, angular rhythm structures and minimalistic aesthetics, they are influenced by London's decades of post-punk culture for sure.

Very significant and interesting release, important for understanding of some future years of all London's modern jazz scene. Recommended not only for avant jazz lovers, is accessible enough to be loved by jazz-rock fans as well.

My rating is 3+.wasn't very popular, but was noticed by many fans and critics. Guitar-less modern jazz quintet with two saxophones, acoustic/electric bass, drums and Rhodes,playing free jazz with strong punk-influences was really important new name on London's jazz scene.

In fact,looking from few years distance, it's easier to say they became one of cornerstone of London-based new wave of modern avant-jazz: half acoustic free-jazz with dirty punkish energy and aesthetics.

Fame came to the band in 2009, after " Sensible Shoes" album was released. Looking from now, their debut is much more jazzy, openly free-jazz oriented, with dominated energetic double saxes sound and space full of vintage Rhodes keyboards. It's still a very jazz album, with feel-able roots in Wynton Marsalis and John Zorn both. But by their simplistic and catchy melodies, angular rhythm structures and minimalistic aesthetics, they are influenced by London's decades of post-punk culture for sure.

Very significant and interesting release, important for understanding of some future years of all London's modern jazz scene. Recommended not only for avant jazz lovers, is accessible enough to be loved by jazz-rock fans as well.

My rating is 3+.

 Sensible Shoes by LED BIB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.95 | 10 ratings

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Sensible Shoes
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Triceratopsoil

4 stars Some very tasty and interesting progressive jazz, especially for the first few (dozen) listens, but once you've heard it enough times that it has been memorized, I find that the two softer songs - Water Shortage and Early Morning - stand out above all the others. Those two are exceptionally beautiful, and both are exemplary cases of build-ups in music; they both (and this is a trait that is also found to a lesser extent in other songs on the album) gradually reach states of near-insanity-like layering, where the individual instruments don't QUITE seem to fit together, and yet in not fitting together perfectly they fit together...perfectly! Such is an enigma I can handle in my avant-jazz.
 Sensible Shoes by LED BIB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.95 | 10 ratings

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Sensible Shoes
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Third British quintet album "Sensible Shoes" is possibly one of the most interesting post jazz-rock releases of 2009. They are playing electric jazz rock with two alto saxes, electric bass, heavy drumming and Fender Rhodes passages. The music is combination of jazz improvisation and complexity with rock energy.

Having their roots in Ornette Coleman and John Zorn music, mixing it with progressive rock and some dose of psychedelia, the band is playing one of most interesting jazz-rock you can imagine in the end of first decade of new century. Very recommended for jazz- rock lovers searching for complex but accessible new sounds. Not less than 4,5.

 Sizewell Tea by LED BIB album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.14 | 3 ratings

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Sizewell Tea
Led Bib RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Jaunty and lively, Led Bib's sophomore release is a fun little album. While there's a lot I am partial to on this album, there's also a lot that gives me a damn headache, so it is a collection of instrumentals that I appreciate somewhat selectively. But when it's good, it's great.

"Stinging Nettle" The album kicks off with a great saxophone riff that pops in and out of the piece, which consists of heavy dissonance and quick transitions. Foot-stomping bass work and drumming pound out a solid basis, even as the saxophones are screaming and raising hell over it.

"Battery Power" The dual saxophones sound like a swarm of disgruntled bees making their way toward the listener before stopping just short, allowing for a nice horn cadenza very early on in the piece. The remainder of the track is much more difficult to follow, and therefore for me, to enjoy.

"Shower" A soft, descending beginning offers a delightful basis for a stark piano. Even when it picks up, it maintains a warm feeling despite going from melancholy to cheerfulness. This, along with the final piece, is my favorite work on the album.

"Manifesto For The Future" After a blaring introduction, the music becomes something more akin to traditional upbeat jazz, complete with a rollicking rhythm section.

"Spring" A static piano riff brings in low brass, all of which erupts into another static riff and a wild saxophone duet. The piano solo has a "falling-down-the-stairs" quality to it, even when playing ascending riffs; along with the percussion, it really sounds like someone is making a mess!

"The Keeper" Following a brief, psychedelic run on electric piano, more discordant brass bounces over a steady rhythm. The electronic grating is a nice addition, and the two saxophones play off each other well, even when their individual riffs don't pair up melodically.

"Forest Fire" The easygoing bass riff, piano, and light lead instruments fading in somewhat remind me of "Flamenco Sketches" by Miles Davis, even though this piece has very little in relation to that one. There is a lengthy, unaccompanied upright bass solo in the middle.

"Chocky" A bizarre electronic tone begins the lengthiest work. The electronic aspect remains throughout, mostly serving to provide the conflicting melody under the howling saxophones. No, I really can't say I care for this one at all.

"Lichen" Led Bib once again shows that they can be discordant and yet maintain a rich melody, even though I'm certainly not fond of either the high-pitched squealing or the rampage of a hundred random notes by all the instruments. The piece suddenly becomes rather eerie before turning into another barrage of noise.

"Heroes" Great drumming begins the final track, which features a remarkable melodic theme and a bass that sounds "in a hurry." As such, this wonderful work reminds me quite a bit of old Buddy Rich pieces. The music is full of both great textures and remarkable melodies- the conclusion to the album is excellent.

Thanks to padraic for the artist addition.

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