Malachi Favors Obituary

From the New York Times. More obits can be found here and here.

Malachi Favors, 76, Jazz Bassist With Art Ensemble of Chicago, Dies

February 9, 2004 By BEN RATLIFF

The jazz bassist Malachi Favors, for 35 years a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, died on Jan. 30 in Chicago. He was 76.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his daughter, Malba Favors Allen.

A remarkable group that combined traditional elements of jazz and blues, West African music, chanting, ritual, abstract sound and silence, the Art Ensemble of Chicago was one of the landmark groups of experimental jazz. But with all its theatricality – Mr. Favors and other members wore face paint on stage and musicians played odd percussion instruments – the rudiments were not slighted. Mr. Favors, a concise, direct and eloquent player, formed a boldly swinging rhythm section with the drummer Don Moye.

Mr. Favors sometimes added Maghostut to his name, which his daughter said was an Egyptian word meaning “I am the host.” He was born in Chicago and served in the Army during the Korean War, and then, back in Chicago in the late 1950’s, he studied with the bassists Wilbur Ware and Israel Crosby, and worked with the pianists Andrew Hill and King Fleming. He briefly attended what was then Wilson Junior College, where the saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell was a fellow student.

By the mid-60’s Mr. Favors and Mr. Mitchell moved into the circle of the pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, whose Experimental Band provided the initial spark for the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (or A.A.C.M.), an influential cooperative society in jazz. At first the Art Ensemble of Chicago was Mr. Mitchell’s own group, and it also included Mr. Favors, Mr. Moye, the trumpeter Lester Bowie and the saxophonist Joseph Jarman. While in France during a European trip in 1969 they were first billed as the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The group stayed in Europe until 1971, quickly establishing itself as one of the more innovative new jazz ensembles and recording more than a dozen albums.

By 1972 the ensemble was recording for Atlantic Records, which raised its profile considerably. By 1978 the group switched to ECM Records, and later recorded for the Japanese label DIW. Mr. Bowie died in 1999, and the group’s last recording, as a quartet without Mr. Bowie, was “The Meeting” (Pi Records).

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Favors is survived by his brothers James and George of Chicago; his sisters Rosetta Rinner and Mary Golden of Chicago and Nayyinah Nusaddiq of Atlanta; and two grandchildren.

New Biota / Mnemonists

Apparently this new release is their live show from a festival in 1990. No offical word from their site yet…

BIOTA/MNEMONISTS – Musique Actuelle 1990
(Anomalous 25) Biota was founded in 1979 in Fort Collins, Colorado, as the Mnemonist Orchestra. Over the years, the Mnemonist Orchestra developed into Biota (the musical contingent) and Mnemonists (the visual contingent). Both Biota and Mnemonists work as one on productions of musical and visual components. The group has released nine LPs, one EP, and four CDs on both their own Dys label and Recommended Records UK. Heard on this CD is the first adaption of their studio-based recording techniques since 1981, as presented at Montreal Musiques Actuelles — New Music America 1990. For their live performance they composed a set of material specifically for the concert and virtually relocated their studio to the stage to properly recreate it. Nine musicians playing only acoustic instruments (aside from electric guitar) were heard natural and unamplified from the stage while extensive electronic processing, heard through the speakers, rendered radical tonal, timbral and temporal modification creating an incredibly unique and strange sound world. Added to this, the two-dimensional graphic work that Mnenomists have become so renowned for was transformed into stunning video projections – beautiful examples of which are now included in the full color booklet accompanying this CD.

FIMAV 04 Lineup

Although this information is not yet available on the official site, at least part of the FIMAV 04 lineup has been announced:

Twenty-first edition
20 – 24 May 2004

Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville
Burning offers for a hot spring!
More than 100 musicians from 14 différent countries

Derek Bailey
Acid Mother’s Temple
Sam Shalabi
Tim Berne
Keith Rowe
The Ex
Kaffe Matthews
Louis Sclavis
Billy Bang
and many more…