Drummer and composer Mark Holub formed Led Bib in 2003. Made up of his Middlesex university friends, the five piece played its first gig at London’s Klinker Club on February 24th 2004 to ten people in the backroom of a North London pub. Five years later they were performing on primetime TV to millions, having been nominated as a Mercury Prize album of the year. Having had their first album met with widespread critical praise in May 2005, they also won the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award in the same year. A second album, Sizewell Tea released in 2007 through iconic London label Babel brought more interest, bigger features, better reviews. There was a notable shift in numbers too, audiences grew as fans cottoned on to a new jazz movement, of which Led Bib was a frontrunner, ditching the noodling and pulling more into rock territory. As they drew references from across the musical spectrum Beefheart and Zorn, Pink Floyd and Miles Davis so too did they draw in a larger swathe of interest, drum and bass heads, jazz aficionados, death metalists and folk, world music and pop fans were, in equal number, their audience.
A limited edition live release appeared in 2008, but it was the release of their 4th album Sensible Shoes that saw them experience widespread acclaim following the announcement that they were chosen as an Album of the Year in the 2009 Barclaycard Mercury Prize. The ensuing media storm saw them reach in excess of 20 million people as they performed on TV & Radio sessions including Channel 4 TV News with Jon Snow, playing live on BBC 2 and found a befuddled and unlikely pundit in Holub being asked to explain the likes of “what is jazz?” to the masses of early morning BBC breakfast radio listeners.
Photo: Matt Crossick