NEM#155: Melvin Gibbs Protests w/ Bass, Jazz Composition, Production, Sound Design

Melvin has played bass on over 200 albums since 1980 in the worlds of jazz, rock, and hip-hop, and has numerous songwriting credits, doing stints with Defunkt, Arto Lindsay, Rollins Band, SociaLybrium (with Bernie Worrell), The Zig Zag Power Trio (with Vernon Reid), etc.

We discuss his solo tune featuring Kokayi “Get Some” from 4+1 Equals 5 for May 25 (2021),  the title track from The Terror End Of Beauty (2018) by his trio Harriet Tubman, and “Howard Beach Memoirs” by Power Tools (with Bill Frisell and Ronald Shannon Jackson) from Strange Meeting (1987). We end by listening to “Canto por Odudua” by Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity from Ancients Speak (2009) Intro: “Melvin’s Tune” from Defunkt (1980). More at

Watch a video for another off the new EP, “Message from the Streets” with Kokayi. Listen to “Melvin’s Tune” in full. Here he is live in 2016 with Vernon Reid and Will Calhoun as the Zig Zag Power Trio. Watch Harriet Tubman live.

Melvin co-wrote and plays on one of Henry Rollins’ biggest post-Black-Flag tunes, “Liar.Here he is soloing with The Sonny Sharrock Quartet in the 80s. Here’s Power Tools live. He’s one of two bassists playing in a large band with Ronald Shannon Jackson. Here’s some of his own Melvin Jackson’s Elevated Entity live.

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Audio editing for the interview by Tyler Hislop.

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