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Malachi Thompson

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An excellent if underrated trumpeter, Malachi Thompson has played in free settings and recorded abstract tributes to jazz's possible founder, Buddy Bolden. Thompson grew up in Chicago. After hearing Count Basie's Orchestra at a concert when he was 11, he persuaded his parents to get him a trumpet. By 1969, Thompson was a member of the AACM and working in diverse settings ranging from free jazz to R&B. After gaining a college degree at Governor's State University, he moved to New York in 1974. As a freelancer, Thompson worked with the Sam Wooding big band, Sam Rivers, Joe Henderson, Kalaparusha McIntyre, Jackie McLean, David Murray, and many others. He was a co-leader of Brass Proud (1975-1980), an important part of Lester Bowie's Hot Trumpeter Repertory Company, and later on a member of Brass Fantasy. Thompson spent periods of time living in New York, Washington D.C., and Vienna, Austria. Although knocked out of action for a few years by lymphona in the late '80s, he survived the bout. In the 1990s, Thompson headed the Freebop Band and Africa Brass, having relocated back to Chicago. An adventurous player with a strong sense of jazz's history, Malachi Thompson has led recording sessions for RA (1972 and 1981) and regularly for Delmark since the mid-'80s. ~ Scott Yanow

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Birth Name:

Malachi Richard Thompson


21 August 1949 in Princeton, KY

Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s