Release Date: May 13, 2014
Record label: Cuneiform Records
For a band that still feels and sounds like a breath of fresh air, it’s remarkable that Led Bib are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Remarkably for an ensemble operating in the field of improvised music, their line-up remains unchanged from the group that first assembled for drummer and bandleader Mark Holub’s university project. Led Bib’s music has generally come with the potent, aggressive and urgent aesthetic – the rawness of punk, the lofty aspirations of progressive rock and the improvising language of jazz.
Led Bib, the once Mercury-nominated British jazz-rock quintet led by expat American drummer Mark Holub, return with a set that features pieces by bassist Liran Donin and saxophonists Chris Williams and Pete Grogan as well as Holub, and has the in-your-face urgency of a live album and the punch of a much bigger band. New Teles suggests a jazz-rock big band with its horns-and-synths choruses erupting over Holub's thundering toms and Donin's heavyweight bass guitar. Holub's Giant Bean mixes a slowly anthemic theme, swing and some stinging alto-sax soloing; Angry Waters sounds like a Russian dance, and Imperial Green like a Scottish one.
A jazz fusion group whose name immediately makes you think of Led Zeppelin, Led Bib couple jazz instrumentation with rock styling and play hard live, drawing as much from The Headhunters as they do Captain Beefheart. Their fifth album in 10 years together captures both the density and sonic uninhibitedness of their show (‘New Teles’, ‘This Roofus’) and includes more melodic, contemplative passages (‘Angry Waters (Lost To Sea)’, ‘Recycling Saga’). At 73 minutes, it could easily have been boiled down to give it more punch, but you can’t bemoan the celebratory feel of ‘The People In Your Neighbourhood’.
The UK jazz scene has been an incredibly fertile ground of late, with excellent new releases from Polar Bear, Sons Of Kemet and Get The Blessing. Now Led Bib bring their own contribution, celebrating their tenth year with the two of their strongest releases to date - the crowd funded studio album The People In Your Neighbourhood and the limited edition live vinyl release The Good Egg. Formed by drummer and band leader Mark Holub whilst he was studying at Middlesex University in 2003, with the fiery yet melodic twin alto saxophone interplay of Pete Grogan and Chris Williams, versatile keyboards from Toby McLaren and compellingly hypnotic double bass of Liran Donin, Led Bib have perfectly honed their craft over their decade together, to the point where their incendiary nature of their live performances has finally struck a perfect balance with their studio work.