Malachi Thompson was an incredible musician, composer and institution builder. He was a resident of Bronzeville before his passing. The following is a tribute to his genius, my review of one of my favorite CDs of his music and his mission. A Stele in the Kemetic tradition is a signpost, it is also frequently used as head stone on a grave.
Stela for Malachi – A meditation on “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
“Adoration of Ra when riseth he in horizon eastern of heaven.”
A Bronzeville inhabitant in soul and spirit … “…bring the music back to the Southside; build institutions …teach ….reach ….plan and provide”: these were credos he would pursue. Focused, talented empowered of will, the brother man could blow Joshua with zeal. Heart of a Lion, his sign was LEO. Prideful with promise, his music for a new millennium; sound the horn’s Africa Brass, insinuate yourself to the future, ye ancient wisdom.
Elephantine Island – Lest we forget, a World View composition. Our history runs strong in him and his music. Clever, intelligent arrangements which Free Bop NTU time, these were his gifts to us.
“Receiveth thee Manu with content, embraceth thee Maat at the double season.”
Old Man River – The drums introduce the flowing rhythm of it’s melody, our roots it sings of. A call to unity as musicians perform in harmony, construct around the beat; our pace, our power, our gene sense that Moves… Dances…Celebrates…Blackness…Africa…SouL!
Carter Jefferson’s solo melodically counterpoints and beats the intention to the Free Bop… still and ALLWAYS. Malachi on Conch Shell plays rather well, as he transfixes our ears to the signals of our roots. Smooth as it runs, this Ole man River. David Spenser, Kenny Anderson, Bob Griffin, Elmer Brown, Edwin Williams, Bill McFarland, Ray Ripperton, Steve Berry are the chores of Brass in the play…all keyed in ntu, all noble, able, adept peers, on the river bank waving us in, to take the journey and met ourselves.
Sound never dissipates, it only re-creates … Hallelujah!
Tales of Ancient Kemet – Avreeayl Ra, Richard Lawrence, Enoch and Harrison capture our hearts with the intro. Kirk’s sense of measure is profound. Freedom prevails in this Bop. Tales of beauty fly off Kirks fingertips, soulful, provocative, and smooth in the telling … TALES of Ancient Kemet.
“May he give splendor and power together with triumph a coming forth as a soul living to see Horus of the double horizon, to the Ka of Osiris, the Scribe Ani, triumphant before Osiris.”
Transitions – Malachi is honoring his spiritual mentor, John Coltrane the massager of the creator, Yahweh.
Lift Every Voice and Sing – The glory and heartfelt poignancy of Malachi’s arrangement can provoke tears of joy. His creative energy coalesces with musicians who are righteous, hearty, compelling warriors of our nation; historically tied to the music themselves. This music with it’s power, it’s core point
…Lift Every Voice and Sing … and A.T.Crawford, Dee Dee McCall, Patsy Mullins, Valerie Mullins, Theo Reed, James Spinks, Louise Thompson (his mom) & Rita Warford, herald that point.
Nubian Call – Was inspired, as he traveled on theNile. The physics of sound was his plaything; a doctor of IDMR was he. He researched and provoked this composition of science, sound, harmony and vibration to awaken our hearts and set us wondering on source – NTU now! Manifest meaning was the result.
The Trick of the Trip – A poem on the Now… Free Bop NOW! Can u dig it? Malachi’s sense of humor and tenacity are legendary, it’s what makes him leader, seeking rank with his heroes, Buddy Bolden, Satchmo, Miles, and Hubbard.
And then he rocks us ntu Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.
“May be made for me a seat in the boat on the day of the going forth of the god; may I be received into the presence of Osiris in the land of triumph, to the Ka of Osiris Ani. “