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Malachi Favors

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Biography

Malachi Favors (August 22, 1927 in Lexington, Mississippi – January 30, 2004 in Chicago) was a noted American jazz bassist best known for his work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

He primarily played the double bass, but also played the electric bass guitar, banjo, zither, gong, and other instruments. He began playing double bass at age fifteen and began performing professionally upon graduating high school. Early performances included work with Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. By 1965, he was a founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and a member of Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band.

At some point he added the word “Maghostut” to his name and because of this he is commonly listed as “Malachi Favors Maghostut.” Musically he is most associated with bebop, hard bop, and particularly free jazz.

Favors was a protégé of Chicago bassist Wilbur Ware. His first known recording was a 1953 session with tenor saxophonist Paul Bascomb. He made an LP with Chicago pianist Andrew Hill (1957). He began working with Roscoe Mitchell in 1966; this group eventually became the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Favors also worked outside the group, with artists including Sunny Murrary, Archie Shepp, and Dewey Redman.

Prominent records include Natural and the Spiritual (solo bass, 1977) and Sightsong (duets with Muhal Richard Abrams, 1975). In 1994 he played with Roman Bunka (Oud) at Berlin Jazz Fest and recorded the German Critics Poll Winner album Color me Cairo.

Favors died of pancreatic cancer in 2004.

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