Melvin Gibbs

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Melvin Gibbs
Melvin Gibbs 05N3594.jpg
Gibbs performing at the Moers Festival in 2010
Background information
Genres Jazz fusion, alternative metal, funk rock, ambient, hip hop
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, producer
Instruments Bass
Years active 1980s–present
Labels Livewired Music, Rage Records
Associated acts Black Rock Coalition, Defunkt, Rollins Band, Eye and I

Melvin Gibbs is an American bass guitarist, composer, and producer[1] who has appeared on close to 200 albums in diverse genres of music.


A native of Brooklyn, New York, Gibbs attended Medgar Evers College and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. After attending and graduating from the Berklee College of Music,[1] 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 alongside guitarist Vernon Reid, as well as playing with guitarist Sonny Sharrock and saxophonist John Zorn. Additionally with Jackson and guitarist Bill Frisell he was also 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 also an original member.

He was a member of the avantmetal 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 artists Dead Prez, Brazilian artists Caetano Veloso and Marisa Monte, Latin jazz artist Eddie Palmieri, Nigerian artist Femi Kuti, and guitarist Marc Ribot. He has also produced albums by guitarist/singer 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. He co-leads the band Harriet Tubman with guitarist Brandon Ross and drummer JT Lewis. His other current projects include Melvin Runs the Hoodoo Down with guitarist Pete Cosey and keyboard player John Medeski, the JFM Trio featuring guitarist Jeff Parker and percussionist Francisco Mora, and the Geechee Seminoles, a duo featuring Gibbs and drummer/hand-body percussionist/dancer David Pleasant.

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", alongside Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee keyboard player Bernie Worrell and long time Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist and musical director DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight as well as J.T. Lewis on drums. The group's album, For You/For Us/For All was released by Livewired Music in December 2009.


Gibbs in a July 19, 1980 performance in Paris, France

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.[1]

Selected discography[edit]

As Melvin Gibbs's Elevated Entity[edit]

As co-leader[edit]

  • 2011 Ascension (with Harriet Tubman)
  • 2000: Prototype (with Harriet Tubman)
  • 1998: I Am A Man (with Harriet Tubman)
  • 1991: Eye and I (with Eye and I)
  • 1988: Power Tools (with Bill Frisell and Ronald Shannon Jackson)

With Rollins Band

As producer[edit]

  • 2004: Salt (Arto Lindsay)
  • 2002: Invoke (Arto Lindsay)
  • 2001: The Anomaly (DJ Logic)
  • 1999: Prize (Arto Lindsay)
  • 1999: Project Logic (DJ Logic)

As remixer[edit]

As band member[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society

With Sonny Sharrock

With John Zorn


  1. ^ a b c Layne, Joslyn (2012). "Biography of Melvin Gibbs". Allmusic Biography of Melvin Gibbs. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 

External links[edit]