Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity: Ancients Speak

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Attempts to bring rap into the jazz fold often result in frustration. The efforts can easily feel contrived, and they wind up disappointing both jazz fans and hip-hop fans. But when Chason Walker starts rapping the words to “Ancients Speak,” you think, Yes, yes! This is what it should sound like!

Maybe that’s because Gibbs’ group, Elevated Entity, throws everything into the pot: African, Brazilian and Cuban music, hip-hop techniques and jazz-inflected musicianship. This is all-inclusive world jazz with a wide-open-door policy. A tune like “Sometimes” contains so many different ideas layered upon one another that it is all but impossible to discern where they all come from. Chanting? Check. Afro-Cuban rhythms? Check. Electric guitar shredding? Check.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.