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Freebop Now!

Combining the playful spirit of "free-jazz" with the musical discipline of hard bop, Malachi Thompson's Freebop Band was one of the most exciting bands in Chicago jazz.

A long-time member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the late Malachi Thompson joined the Chicago musical institution in the late 1960s when he was still in his teens. Cutting his teeth in performances with Lester Bowie, Henry Threadgill and Joe Henderson to name just a few, Thompson earned his reputation as a stellar trumpeter.

After more than a decade playing on the East Coast and in Europe, Thompson moved back to Chicago in 1989, where he signed with the legendary jazz label, Delmark Records. After his return to the states, Thompson voiced his strong support for arts education while expanding his own musical education through his jazz ensemble, Africa Brass.

A learned jazz player who knew his history, Thompson infused his compositions with the AACM's unconventional approach to music. Sadly, Thompson lost his long battle with leukemia in July of 2006, but his musical legacy lives on.

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Learn more about the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians.

Check out some more of Illinois' phenomenal jazz artists, playing everything from Dixieland to bebop to abstract, experimental tunes: Tatsu Aoki, Orbert Davis, Nicole Mitchell, Jean Kittrell, New Arts Jazztet and the New Horizons Ensemble.

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Watch Malachi Thompson's Freebop Band perform during Arts Across Illinois: CenterStage in 2001.


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Steve Berry on trombone.

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Malachi Thompson, Harrison Bankhead and Dennis Winslett (left to right.)

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The late, great Malachi Thompson.

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Freebop band drummer, Leon Joyce, Jr.


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