Reggie Gibson and his Atlas Soul Trio share their “gumbo” of music and spoken word
What exactly does Reggie Gibson do? Here’s how he explains it:[I] find the best words, put them in the best order, perform them in the best way to get the best result.
In other words, Gibson is a self-proclaimed poet, musician, and “literary performer.” He and his bandmates Jaques Pardo and Steve Davis, who form the Atlas Soul Trio, stopped Boston Public Radio Friday ahead of their two weekend performances with the Boston Celebrity Series.
The group performs a genre of music they call “global funk,” which Gibson describes as a “gumbo” of sounds influenced by jazz, hip-hop, and North African rhythms. He says the trio uses music to further propel the messages contained in their spoken word.
The song “Seven Billion”, which Atlas Soul Trio performed on Boston Public Radio, shares the message of how people are but “a bunch of human instruments trying to play in harmony.” call.
The group was born when Pardo and Gibson first met over a decade ago, with Davis joining them a little later. Pardo invited Gibson to perform with his band back then, and after just one song he knew it was something special. He remembers telling Gibson, “You don’t leave the stage, you stay here with us.”
Gibson says his love for the language has deep roots. He said his great-grandfather, who was illiterate, “had to create songs and stories and poems to remember things. …I think if I go back, it’s there [the love] started.”
And the development of this love continued when, on his seventh birthday, his uncle gave him the only gift he had left: a dictionary. Gibson said it took him “two or three years to read the whole dictionary”. He still carries it with him today, 43 years later.
Asked about the healing power of poetry, Gibson reflected on what he thinks makes it such a powerful medium: “[Poetry] break through for a moment. He makes the most of a moment through literature, those of us who still have so few precious moments, that is, all of us, the closer we get to the space of realization of our mortality, we begin to explore the precious moments and we want to exploit them for all they are worth. Poetry has this tendency to tap into that moment in time and tell us what each moment means.