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Malachi Thompson Dies at 56

On Sunday, July 16, trumpeter, composer and Chicago scene luminary Malachi Thompson lost his battle with cancer. He was 56.

Thompson was best known for his tremendous range in style, a blend of free jazz, bop, soul and gospel. After moving to New York City from Chicago in the mid-1970s, Thompson played with Joe Henderson, Sam Wooding, Jackie McLean, Frank Foster, Sam Rivers and others. In 1978 Thompson formed the renowned Freebop band and in 1991 helmed Africa Brass, a big band who artfully meshed historical pre-swing jazz with bop and the avant-garde. Thompson also performed on albums by Gil Scott-Heron, Quincy Jones and Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy. Thompson was a staunch social activist, working with Dr. Martin Luther King’s Operation Breadbasket Orchestra in 1968, a project by Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

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