Malachi Favors Maghostut

Africa N'Da Blues Jitterbug Junction

Born 22 August 1927, Chicago, Illinois, USA, d. 30 January 2004, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Favors came from a religious family (his father preached as a pastor) who disapproved of secular music. He took up the bass at the age of 15, initially inspired by Wilbur Ware. He started playing professionally when he left school, accompanying Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie. Moving to Chicago, he recorded with Andrew Hill in 1955 and in 1961 he played with Muhal Richard Abrams in the Experimental Band, becoming a member of the AACM at its inception in 1965. He played in groups led by Roscoe Mitchell and Lester Bowie and in 1969 joined with them and Joseph Jarman to found the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, who triumphantly carried the banner of "Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future" into the 90s. Outside of the Art Ensemble, Favors recorded on Mitchell's and Bowie's own albums, as well as with fellow AACM member Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, drummer Sunny Murray and gospel group From The Root To The Source. Sightsong, an album of duos with Abrams, was released in 1976, and two years later the solo Natural And The Spiritual appeared on the Art Ensemble's own AECO label.

Favors, who took to appending Maghostut (in various spellings) to his name, typified the AACM's interest in mysticism and once gave his biography as "into being in this universe some 43,000 years ago. Moved around and then was ordered to this Planet Earth by the higher forces, Allah De Lawd Thank You Jesus Good God A Mighty, through the precious channels of Brother Isaac and Sister Maggie Mayfield Favors; of ten. Landed in Chicago by way of Lexington, Mississippi, for the purpose of serving my duty as a Music Messenger." Perhaps more plausibly he also claimed that his decision to play freely was a statement that cost him financial rewards. Favors was a foremost exponent of free jazz upright playing, and was also adept at the electric bass, the African balafon, the zither and banjo.