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Jazz Trumpeter Malachi Thompson Passes Away At 56
Published July 18, 2006

Famed trumpeter Malachi Thompson passed away in his home on the morning of July 16 from a battle with leukemia that had been in remission for close to 20 years.

Famed trumpeter Malachi Thompson passed away in his home on the morning of July 16 from a battle with leukemia that had been in remission for close to 20 years. Thompson was five weeks from his 57th birthday when he died.

His band, Africa Brass with Billy Harper, has planned a special tribute to their beloved friend at the Chicago Jazz Festival on Friday, Sept. 1 from 6-7pm on the Petrillo Main Stage. Thompson had looked forward to the much anticipated festival.

The trumpeter, also a composer, writer and jazz historian, and an influential supporter of jazz and arts education, once called jazz “the music of freedom.”

He was well-known for his innovative abilities and fusion of styles, combining free jazz with bop. His music was also inspired by the emotion of blues and gospel.

As an upcoming artist, Thompson idolized John Coltrane and Lester Bowie.

His talent and warm demeanor will be missed by countless fans and artists who have benefited from the influence of his four-decade career. The Washington Post called Thompson “…one of the ageless innovators of jazz,” with “a gift for conceiving arrangements and solos of stunning technical and emotional range.”