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


Favors 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 Murray, 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.

Death and legacy

Favors died of pancreatic cancer in 2004, aged 76. Since his death, there have been several recorded tributes by fellow musicians (and especially Chicagoans), including Big M, A Tribute to Malachi by Kahil El'Zabar and the "Malachi Favors Suite" for unaccompanied double bass, composed and recorded by fellow Chicago bassist Karl E. H. Seigfried.


  • Natural & The Spiritual (solo 1977) - AECO Records

with Art Ensemble of Chicago

Sound - Roscoe Mitchell Sextet1966Delmark
Old/Quartet - Roscoe Mitchell1967Nessa
Numbers 1 & 2 - Lester Bowie1967Nessa
Early Combinations - Art Ensemble1967Nessa
Congliptious - Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble1968Nessa
A Jackson in Your House1969Actuel
The Spiritual1969Freedom
People in Sorrow1969Pathé-Marconi
Message to Our Folks1969Actuel
Reese and the Smooth Ones1969Actuel
Eda Wobu1969JMY
Certain Blacks1970America
Go Home1970Galloway
Les Stances a Sophie1970Pathé-Marconi
Live in Paris1970Freedom
Art Ensemble of Chicago with Fontella Bass1970America
Phase One1971America
Live at Mandell Hall1972Delmark
Fanfare for the Warriors1973Atlantic
Nice Guys1978ECM
Live in Berlin1979West Wind
Full Force1980ECM
Urban Bushmen1980ECM
Among the People1980Praxis
The Complete Live in Japan1984DIW
The Third Decade1984ECM
Ancient to the Future1987DIW
The Alternate Express1989DIW
Art Ensemble of Soweto1990DIW
America - South Africa1990DIW
Thelonious Sphere Monk with Cecil Taylor1990DIW
Dreaming of the Masters Suite1990DIW
Live at the 6th Tokyo Music Joy with Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy1991DIW
Fundamental Destiny with Don Pullen1991AECO
Salutes the Chicago Blues Tradition1993AECO
Coming Home Jamaica1996Atlantic
Urban Magic1997AECO
Tribute to Lester2001ECM
Reunion2003Around Jazz
The Meeting2003Pi
Sirius Calling2004Pi

With Hanah Jon Taylor & Vincent Davis

  • Maghostut Trio "" (, 2006)

With Archie Shepp

With Roman Bunka

  • Color Me Cairo (Enja, 1995)

With Andrew Hill

With Roscoe Mitchell

With Dewey Redman

With Ahmed Abdullah Quartet

  • Liquid Magic (Silkheart, 1987)

With Fred Anderson

With Kahil El'Zabar's The Ritual

  • Sacred Love (Sound Aspects, 1985)
  • Another Kind Of Groove' (Sound Aspects Records, 1986)

With Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio

With Tatsu Aoki

  • 2 x 4 (Southport Records, 1999)

With Wadada Leo Smith