Melvin Gibbs is an American bass guitarist and record producer. who has appeared on close to 200 albums in diverse genres of music. Among others Gibbs is known for working in jazz with drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson and guitarist Sonny Sharrock, and in rock music with Rollins Band and Arto Lindsay.
Gibbs performing at the Moers Festival in 2010
|Genres||Jazz fusion, alternative metal, funk rock, ambient, hip hop|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, producer|
|Labels||Livewired Music, Rage|
|Associated acts||Black Rock Coalition, Defunkt, Rollins Band, Eye and I|
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Gibbs attended Medgar Evers College and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Gibbs first came to public notice as a member of the group Defunkt which was a mainstay of the early 1980s downtown New York scene. Throughout most of the 1980s, he played in drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society with guitarist Vernon Reid and with guitarist Sonny Sharrock and saxophonist John Zorn. With Jackson and guitarist Bill Frisell he was a member of the group Power Tools. Gibbs co-led the band Eye and I with D.K. Dyson who also co-founded the Black Rock Coalition of which he is an original member.
Gibbs took on the role of record producer while with the Rollins Band in the 1990s. He worked in that capacity, producing records for other artists on Rage Records.
He was a member of the avant-metal Rollins Band from 1993 to about 1998 and again in 2006 when the group briefly reformed. As a member of the Rollins Band, he performed at Woodstock '94 in 1994 and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1995. Gibbs has also recorded with hip-hop musician Dead Prez, Brazilian musicians Caetano Veloso and Marisa Monte, Latin jazz musician Eddie Palmieri, Nigerian musician Femi Kuti, and guitarist Marc Ribot. He has produced albums by guitarist Arto Lindsay and turntablist DJ Logic.
Gibbs formed the Punk-Funk All-Stars with James Blood Ulmer, Defunkt leader Joseph Bowie, Vernon Reid and Ronald Shannon Jackson. In 1998, Gibbs, guitarist Brandon Ross, and drummer J.T. Lewis formed the trio Harriet Tubman, which continues to perform concerts and record, as of 2019.
Ancients Speak, the first album by Melvin Gibbs' Elevated Entity, was released on March 17, 2009, by Livewired Music. In 2009, he joined the group SociaLybrium with guitarist Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic, DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight, and J.T. Lewis. The group's album, For You/For Us/For All was released by Livewired in December 2009.
Gibbs' other projects include Melvin Runs the Hoodoo Down with guitarist Pete Cosey and keyboard player John Medeski; the JFM Trio with guitarist Jeff Parker and percussionist Francisco Mora, the Geechee Seminoles with percussionist David Pleasant; Zig Zag Power Trio with guitarist Vernon Reid and drummer Will Calhoun; God Particle with cosmologist/saxaphonist Stephon Alexander, David Pleasant, and other musicians; and Melvin Gibbs Magnum.
As leader or co-leader
- 2004 Raw Meet with Elliott Sharp, Lance Carter (Intakt)
- 2009 Ancients Speak (LiveWired)
- 2010 Christian Marclay: Graffiti Composition with Elliott Sharp, Mary Halvorson, Lee Ranaldo, Vernon Reid
- 2013 Crossing the Waters with Elliott Sharp, Lucas Niggli (Intakt)
With Rollins Band
With Harriet Tubman
- 1998 I Am a Man (SlaveNo Mo'/Knitting Factory)
- 2000 Prototype (Avant)
- 2011 Ascension (Sunnyside)
- 2017 Araminta (Sunnyside)
- 2018: The Terror End of Beauty (Sunnyside)
- 1987 Strange Meeting, Power Tools
- 2010 For You - For Us - For All, Socialybrium
With Jean-Paul Bourelly
With DJ Logic
- 1980 Eye on You
- 1981 Nasty
- 1982 Mandance (Antilles)
- 1983 Street Priest
- 1983 Barbeque Dog (Antilles)
- 1985 Decode Yourself (Island)
- 1990 Taboo
- 1999 Live in Montreux
- 2000 Earned Dreams
- 2000 Live at Greenwich House
With Arto Lindsay
- 1995 Aggregates 1-26
- 1996 Mundo Civilizado
- 1996 Subtle Body
- 1998 Noon Chill
- 1999 Prize
- 2000 Ecomixes
- 2002 Invoke
- 2004 Salt
- 2014 Encyclopedia of Arto
- 2017 Cuidado Madame
With Marisa Monte
With Sonny Sharrock
With Moreno Veloso
With John Zorn
- 1982 Sueño, Eddie Palmieri
- 1989 Come Together as One, Will Downing
- 1989 Unh!, Philip Tabane
- 1990 Metamorphosis, World Saxophone Quartet
- 1990 Rootless Cosmopolitans, Marc Ribot
- 1991 Circulado, Caetano Veloso
- 1991 Lust, Ambitious Lovers
- 1995 Very Neon Pet, Peter Scherer
- 1997 Terra Incognita, Chris Whitley
- 1998 Black Music, Chocolate Genius
- 1999 Mustango, Jean-Louis Murat
- 1999 Pasajes de un Sueno, Ana Torroja
- 1999 Return of Kill Dog E, Scotty Hard
- 1999 Vitamin C, Vitamin C
- 2000 Let's Get Free, Dead Prez
- 2000 Menace to Sobriety, OPM
- 2000 More, Vitamin C
- 2003 Deeper Than Oceans, Kazufumi Miyazawa
- 2004 Ten, Ellery Eskelin
- 2010 The Art of Bellydance, Bellydance Superstars
- Layne, Joslyn (2012). "Melvin Gibbs". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- "harriet tubman: the band". ReverbNation. 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
- Freitas, Filipe (November 19, 2018). "Harriet Tubman: The Terror End of Beauty". jazztrail. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
- "Harriet Tubman". bandsintown. November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
- "Constellation: Harriet Tubman, Thu, February 14, 2019, 8:30 PM". Constellation. 2019. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
- "The Geechee Seminoles". Tulane University. 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
- "Melvin Gibbs & Stephon Alexander Premiere at The Vision Festival 2019". Bass Magazine. May 14, 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
- Cohan, Brad (April 2, 2019). "Melvin Gibbs Isn't Looking Back". Jazz Times. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
- "Melvin Gibbs | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
- "Harriet Tubman: The Band". Maurice Montoya Music Agency. 2017. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
- "Harriet Tubman: The Terror End of Beauty". The Wire. November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-21.