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…


Asko Ensemble Update

The Asko Ensemble’s latest performance schedule includes a number of shows featuring pieces by Messiaen, Gubaidulina, Boulez, Knussen, Andriessen, Xenakis, and others.


New Squid's Ear Reviews

Latest reviews on the Squid’s Ear include:

Dean Roberts – Be Mine Tonight
Lou Harrison – Works 1939-2000
Lutz Glandien – Lost in Rooms
Zakarya – Something Obvious
Kenny Wheeler – Dream Sequence
Eyvind Kang – Virginal Coordinates
Free Fall – Furnace
Veryan Weston – Tessellations for Luthéal Piano


Surprise…Another Steve Roach Release

Steve Roach has announced the upcoming release of Fever Dream with Patrick O’Hearn (bass), Byron Metcalf (percussion) on April 6th.


Faun Fables on Tour

Faun Fables, a rather unique group related to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, is currently touring (with SGM mostly).


New Univers Zero Track on Mixing It

The BBC Radio show Mixing It features a downloadable show with a new UZ track from their forthcoming release.


Upcoming on MIO

Our friends at MIO have announced a few new releases:

Philippe Besombes – Libra: Conceived as the soundtrack (and, in fact, the ONLY sound in the movie) for the avant-garde film Libra, the music on this 1973 album ranges in style from electronic pop mixed with music concrete ala Parmegiani/Henry to psychedelic exercises, progressive rock, and fusion. The album includes a mix of rock musicians and electronic treatments, a very new way of working at this time. Bonus tracks will include three cuts in the same from the same sessions that have never been released. Another long, experimental prepared minimalist piano piece will also be included.

Philippe Besombes – Besombes: This 1976 release includes early ballet music that was originally recorded between 1974-1975 for several contemporary ballet groups in Paris. The recording was assisted by Jean Louis Rizet, with whom Besombes was then working in his recording studio. Bonus tracks include 2 early pieces from 1972 (recorded during his time engineering for Stockhausen, Nono and others at the Festival d¹Art Contemporain de La Rochelle) and thirty additional minutes of unreleased
ballet music from 1975, which is among his best work for theater.

Kha-Ym – 10″ GMT: Kha-Ym was a duo of Alain Gerbe and Jacky Michaud. Alain conceived the album on his own and essentially played all the other parts on the recording – base, percussions, guitars and keyboards. He brought in Jacky to fill out the drums and add additional percussions. Influenced by their interest in progressive music, they decided to create an album. Alain wrote the music, and the duo practiced for some time before they began recording, in their home, with two Revox A77 tape machines. That way they put together all the tracks recorded to be included on their only album – 10² G.M.T. Knowing in advance that no big label would sign them because their music was not commercial (and punk was the flavor of the season at the end of the 1970s), they decided to press the album themselves at FLVM, a French ‘do it yourself’ label. Before taking it to press, the guys added some overdubbing at Roanne studio with sound engineer Mark Tamburro, and the album was released as a Roanne Music record. The big advantage at the Roanne studio were the additional instruments and the polyphonic Korg synth that Alain used through the recording.


Tzadik March Releases

Tzadik has posted details on their latest batch:

Alvin Curran: Lost Marbles
A pioneer of live electronic music and one of America’s most adventurous composers, Alvin Curran has been walking his own eclectic path since the late 1960’s. The range and scope of his work is enormous, and unprecedented. Few composers have as many interests, or as much wit. This special compilation takes us on a whirlwind tour of fifteen of his most productive years (1987–2002), capturing both live and studio performances from around the world. Featuring a seductive work for chorus and ensemble, an incredible piece for eleven of the world’s largest and loudest musical instruments (shiphorns), an electroacoustic tribute to John Cage using the sound of his laughter and the purring of Merce Cunningham’s cat and much, much more. This long overdue release will surely confirm Alvin Curran as one of America’s most courageous and outrageous musical mavericks.

Susie Ibarra: Lakbay
Two exciting new pieces from composer/percussionist Susie Ibarra, whose dynamic drumming has driven the bands of William Parker, David S. Ware, Pauline Oliveros, Derek Bailey and Mephista. Written for her trio, featuring pianist Craig Taborn and violinist Jennifer Choi, the title track Lakbay is a musical portrait of a day in the life of a Filipino field worker—a kaleidoscopic suite that effortlessly moves from folk to classical, jazz and back again. Also included is a brilliant composition for percussion featuring Susie with her husband, percussionist Roberto Rodriguez.

Greg Wall: Later Prophets
Saxophonist Greg Wall has been a leading figure in the Jewish Music scene since the late seventies. A veteran of countless bands, he is a founding member of the acclaimed Hasidic New Wave with Frank London, and was one of the first musicians to blend Jewish Music with Jazz. Later Prophets, his newest recording, is one of his best. A dramatic and powerful collection of originals inspired by the story of Ezekiel, whose prophecy resurrecting dry bones after the destruction of the temple contains a great message of hope. Merkabah Mysticism meets Free Jazz in this remarkable new work by one of Jewish Music’s most passionate voices.