Malachi Favors was born on August 22, 1927 in Lexington, Mississippi. He learned to play the double bass at age fifteen and began performing professionally upon graduating high school. His early performances included working 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.
A protégé of Chicago bassist Wilbur Ware, his first known recording was a 1953 session with tenor saxophonist Paul Bascomb. He recorded an LP with Chicago pianist Andrew Hill in 1957. He went on to work with Roscoe Mitchell in 1966 and this group eventually became the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
Malachi worked outside the group, with Sunny Murray, Archie Shepp and Dewey Redman. His most noted records include a solo bass project Nature and the Spiritual in 1977 and Sightsong a duet with Muhal Richard Abrams. In 1994 he played with oudist Roman Bunka at Berlin Jazz Fest where they recorded the German Critics Poll Winner album Color Me Cairo.
Double bassist Malachi Favors, who played in the bebop, hard bop and free jazz genres, passed of pancreatic cancer in 2004 at the age of 76. Though his primary instrument was the double bass, he also plays electric bass, guitar, banjo, zither, gong, and other instruments. At some point in his career he added the word “Maghostut” to his name and because of this he is commonly listed as Malachi Favors Maghostut. He recorded some 46 albums as a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and another 24 as a collaborator and sideman.
More Posts: bass
Mike Davis was born on August 9, 1972 in Rosenberg, Texas not far from Houston. Mike grew up in a small Texas town not far outside of Houston called Rosenberg. Though music was in his blood from a very early age, he didn’t begin seriously playing an instrument until around age 14. His began with the bass and soon was playing in his high school big band as well as in the Symphonic band. He borrowed other instruments from the school and began to practice and experiment with clarinet, trombone, trumpet, French horn, drums and piano. Ultimately the bass was his best fit as he discovered his first great jazz album – Chick Corea’s ‘Now He Sings-Now He Sobs’.
Davis studied bass, theory and jazz with Dave Foster, Eric Late, Shelly Berg and Bruce Dudley. He played gigs in Houston with his first influential peers – Todd Harrison, Mike Wheeler, Harry Shepard, Joe LoCascio, Tony Campisi, Woody Witt, Clark Erickson, Ted Wenglisnski. In 1993 Mike began studying jazz, classical bass, arranging, composition, improvisation, table and North Indian classical music. During this time Mike performed regularly with Dave Zoller, Pete Peterson and the Collection Jazz Orchestra, Allison Wedding, Pablo Mayor and many others. He was a regular member of the bands Little Jack Melody and his Young Turks, Sol Caribe and The Great Escape. Mike also formed his original avant-garde ensemble Sand with guitarist Niclas Höglind, saxophonist Jacob Duncan and drummer Chris Michael.
In 1998 Mike moved to New York City and focused on jazz performance playing with the likes of Lynne Arriale and Steve Davis, Cheryl Pyle, Tom Chang, Rez Abbasi, Dave Phelps, the SoHa Big Band, Jonathan Kreisberg, Dave Wood, Billy Eric and Mike Freeman. He moved into the pop rock and folk genres as a producer, editor and mixer but eventually returned to his own creative endeavors. Launching Tmpf Records he released three albums, I See Better With My Eyes Closed, It Won’t Get Dark and Fortunes and Hat-tricks, Vol. 1, as a leader of a quartet, duo and trio respectively.
Over the years bassist Mike Davis has perform and recorded with Airto Moreira, Norah Jones, Steve Gadd, Ed Thigpen, Doc Cheatham, Bobby Womack, Ellen Greene, Peter Erskine and Poncho Sanchez to name a few. He continues to compose, perform, collaborate and record.
More Posts: bass
Ben Wolfe was born on August 3, 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland but was raised in Portland, Oregon. Early on in his career he formed a duo with Harry Connick Jr. and went on to be his musical director, recording over a dozen albums and soundtracks. He then joined the Wynton Marsalis Septet, remaining until it disbanded. This engagement was followed being an part of Diana Krall’s touring band, playing on many of her recordings, including the Grammy Award winning project When I Look In Your Eyes.
As a member of The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), Ben has performed with Joe Henderson, Doc Cheatham, Jon Hendricks, Harry “Sweets” Edison, and Billy Higgins as well as recording with Branford Marsalis, James Moody, Eric Reed, Carl Allen, and Benny Green.
Wolfe has been awarded the 2004 New Works: Creation and Presentation Program Grant by Chamber Music America and funded through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. As a result he composed his extended composition Contradiction: Music for Sextet. He has also composed the score for Matthew Modine’s film short I Think I Thought.
Double bassist, composer and educator Ben Wolfe currently performs, records and teaches in the Jazz Division of the Juilliard School in New York City.
More Posts: bass
Bill Lee was born William James Edwards Lee III on July 23, 1928 in Snow Hill, Alabama the son of Alberta Grace Edwards, a concert pianist, and Arnold Wadsworth Lee, a musician. A bassist by profession, he is also a composer, arranger and conductor.
Bill scored his son’s first four movies, and was also the musical director and performer Sonny Darling in She’s Gotta Have It, the bassist in the Phyllis Hyman Quartet and the music conductor of the Natural Spiritual Orchestra for School Daze and Do The Right Thing, and appeared as Father of the Bride and also the music director for Mo’ Better Blues.
Lee was arrested in 1991 during a police drug sweep for heroin possession, fell out with his son, Spike Lee, over the arrest and subsequent interracial marriage to second wife that took place shortly after his first wife Jacquelyn, Spike’s mother, passed away from cancer. Bad blood continued as Spike made Jungle Fever that set a negative light on White/Black romantic relationships.
Along with Stuart Scharf he was the music arranger for the stage play A Hand is on the Gate. He has appeared on the Today Show, the Harry Belafonte television specials, has composed operas, stage music for the Apollo Theatre and has recorded with The Brass Company, Stanley Cowell, Richard Davis, Clifford Jordan, Harold Mabern, Pat Martino, Johnny Griffin, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Odetta, Judy Collins, Gordon Lightfoot and Peter, Paul and Mary among others. Double bassist and bass guitarist Bill Lee continues to compose, arrange and conduct.
Lloyd Trotman was born on May 25, 1923 in Boston, Massachusetts. He began playing the club scene on 52nd Street in New York in 1945, playing with the likes of Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday. One of his earliest recording sessions was on Duke Ellington’s 1950 album Great Times Piano Duets with Billy Strayhorn and Oscar Pettiford.
He worked with, traveled with, and recorded with many jazz artists including Johnny Hodges, Woody Herman, Bud Powell, Red Allen, Coleman Hawkins, Jimmy Scott, Billie Holiday, Lucky Millinder, Boyd Raeburn and Blanche Calloway. He was a member of the Apollo house band during the late 40’s and early 1950s.
During the 1950s Lloyd worked as a session musician at Atlantic, RCA Victor, Mercury, Okeh, Vik, Cadence, Brunswick and many other recording studios alongside producers and arrangers such as Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry Wexler, Leiber and Stoller, Jesse Stone, Sammy Lowe, Leroy Kirkland and Archie Bleyer. He played behind Sam “The Man” Taylor, King Curtis, Panama Francis, Mickey Baker, Ernie Hayes, Al Caiola among others and was a member of Alan Freed’s Rock & Roll Orchestra at the Brooklyn Paramount and Fox Theaters during the late 1950s.
He continued to play many weekend nightclub dates into the early 1980’s and after retiring from the music business, he became a loan officer at Islip National Bank. Jazz bassist Lloyd Trotman, who backed numerous jazz, Dixieland, R&B, and rock and roll artists in the 1940’s, 1950s and 1960s, passed away at the aged 84, on October 3, 2007 on Long Island, New York.
More Posts: bass