Melvin Gibbs

 contributes to

The Wish List: Melvin Gibbs

Melvin Gibbs is a musician whose respect for music is equalled by his lack of respect for externally drawn boundaries between musical forms. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where he currently resides, he has been called “the greatest bassist in the world” by Time Out New York magazine. The list of musical artists he has played with includes Femi Kuti, Caetano Veloso, dead prez, Eddie Palmieri, David Byrne and Arto Lindsay. He has composed music for visual artist Stan Douglas, composed music for and appeared in ‘De Lama Lamina’ by the visual artist Matthew Barney, and has composed music and done sound design for the visual artist Arthur Jafa.

Since 1998, Melvin has been a member of the band Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman's collaborators have included artists as diverse as DJ Logic, Kyp Malone, Meshell Ndegocello, Cassandra Wilson and Wadada Leo Smith. Recent accolades for the band include being highlighted for giving one of “The Best Jazz Performances of 2017” by the New York Times.

In 2015 Melvin and theoretical cosmologist Stephon Alexander (who is also an accomplished jazz saxophonist) met. Shortly afterwards, they established what became an ongoing collaboration. This collaboration includes projects such as “God Particle”, a band built to explore and expand on the ideas at the heart of Alexander's book “The Jazz Of Physics” as well as “Speculative Auralizations of the Anthropocene”, a sonic exploration of humanity's effect on the evolution of Planet Earth based on and built around the work of NASA-embedded artist Justin Brice Guariglia.

In 2018, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination, Melvin presented “King’s Market: Now Closed” at the gallery Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in Harlem, NYC. This performance, his inaugural art piece, incorporated olfactory constructs and ritual elements developed by Melvin as well as music.