Malachi Favors / Aug 22, 1927 - Jan 30, 2004

Happy earth arrival day to one of my favorite bassists, Malachi Favors Maghostut. Most famous for playing in my all time favorite group, the highly theatrical and musical Art Ensemble of Chicago, he's also played and recorded with all of the Art Ensemble members, as well as Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio, Archie Shepp, Cheikh Tidiane Fall, Andrew Hill, Wadada Leo Smith, Sunny Murray, Dennis Gonzalez, Fred Anderson, Muhal Richard Abrams, Dewey Redman and many, many more.

Born in Mississippi, he started playing bass as a teenager and in '53 made his recording debut with Paul Bascomb after which he found himself playing with Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie and studying with Wilbur Ware & Paul Chambers.

He was firmly entrenched in the Chicago scene both before and after his time served in the Korean war. He cut a disk with Andrew Hill in '56 (So In Love). In the mid-'60s, after being part of the collective Experimental Band, he was a founding member of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), a collective-member musician's rights and opportunities alliance out of Chicago that still operates strongly to this very day.

In '66 he hooked up with Roscoe Mitchell and they formed the Art Ensemble. This unit perfectly encapsulated the rich history of pan-African music into an adventurous and pleasing concept they called Great Black Music--Ancient To The Future, bringing together all types and eras of jazz with African music, blues, theater, European avant-garde, funk, Eastern sounds and poetry. Favors, a major part of this collective for decades, was the one who suggested the group wear their African face paint.

The group was working out of France until 1971 and returned to the US to make several amazing records and become a big concert attraction in the jazz world. Favors played several instruments: double bass, electric bass, zither, banjo, harmonica, percussion and "little instruments" (as customary for all Art Ensemble folks). While he played with many artists, he always was committed to the Art Ensemble all the way til his death in 2004.

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