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Sensible Shoes by Led Bib

This young British band has been blazing a trail of fire and brimstone through progressive-jazz circles, while receiving glowing critical reviews along the way. With the quintet’s third studio effort, think of grunge, punk, avant-garde and thrash-style, New York City downtown fare, rolled into one tightly cohesive package, imprinted with a signature methodology. On this 2009 release, the dual sax attack of Pete Grogan and Chris Williams, generate audacious and mind-bending choruses, yet it’s a concentrated group-centric effort, indeed.

They either lull you into a false sense of tranquility with quaint melodies, or march to a different drummer via high-impact and ascending theme-building exercises. In effect, the band takes no prisoners, and its mode of execution is akin to an action-filled cinematic thriller. At various points, the musicians punch it all out with knotty unison phrasings and garrulous crescendos, although there’s a lot of meat behind the rather vicious attack. Where others fall flat in these modes, Led Bib instills soulful attributes, and that looms as a significant differentiator. Fed by Liran Donin’s fortified bass underpinnings and drummer Mark Holub’s punishing beats, the band abides by a consortium of wily parameters. Moreover, keyboardist Toby McLaren darts and jabs, while adding colorific treatments and stinging solos to the grand mix.

The artists toggle between the free-zone at times, yet retain a semi-structured gait throughout the program and provide gobs of contrasts amid peppery motifs, largely performed with exactitude and grace. However, they don’t let the listener become complacent, as they pursue off-kilter diversions to complement a few harmonious and multi layered expositions, heard on "Water Shortage," for example. All told, the quintet doesn’t trip the light fantastic. It’s more about combustible jazz music, hued by a sense of endearment. Hence, a standout effort for 2009....

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Led Bib
  • CD Title: Sensible Shoes
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Cuneiform Records
  • Musicians: Chris Williams (saxophone), Pete Grogan (saxophone), Toby McLaren (keyboards), Liran Donin (bass), Mark Holub (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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