Exposé Online banner

Led Bib — Umbrella Weather
(RareNoise RNR071, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-06-13

Umbrella Weather Cover art

Many of our readers should already be acquainted with Led Bib. The People in Your Neighborhood (2014) was one of the outstanding jazz releases of its year, and with Umbrella Weather, they might just have done themselves one better. The qualities I appreciate most in jazz are present in abundance: adventurous compositions, explorational sounds, subtle interplay between musicians, and energetic imagination. The personnel is intact from the beginning of the group, with dual alto saxes by Pete Grogan and Chris Williams, keyboards (mostly Rhodes electric piano) from Toby McLaren, electric bassist Liran Donin, and drummer Mark Holub. Not many groups have two alto saxes, and it might seem at first to provide less variety than including a tenor, bari, or soprano might, and neither Grogan nor Williams doubles on anything else. But they make it work, sometimes functioning almost like a single two-headed musician, albeit a somewhat schizophrenic one. And, hey, lots of bands have two guitars, right? I can’t tell the two players apart by sound, but they are both great. McLaren’s favored instrument is the Rhodes, but on this album, he spends more time on other keyboards than I remember on past outings. The credits aren’t specific, but there’s some kind of synth or organ involved, along with some effects like distortion and ring modulator on the Rhodes. Donin’s bass has a big, muscular tone, and is often augmented by effects — when he kicks in the fuzz, the link to classic Soft Machine with Hugh Hopper is unmistakable, though not in a derivative way. Donin also likes to play chords, beefing up the bottom end even more. And Holub, who started the band, is simply an amazing drummer, busy and energetic without overpowering the others, and he has the majority of the composer credits as well. This is one case where a 70+ minute running time is justified — Led Bib provides non-stop interest and quality from start to finish.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Led Bib

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Christopher Franke - Klemania – Apparently a special recording to celebrate KLEM day, an electronic music festival in the Netherlands, Franke's Klemania album is both a pleasant surprise and a disappointment. I hate to judge...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues