The winner of the seventh installment of the Outside Pants Guess The Trumpet Player contest is…….. no one! And the correct answer is……..Malachi Thompson. The tune is called “Take a Look” and it’s from the Delmark Malachi Thompson career retrospective compilation CD Timeline.
I only got to see Malachi play once. And although I cannot find anything to verify this, I think the performance I saw here in Philly was one of his last. He passed away from cancer about 45 days later (an obituary of sorts HERE). He must have been sick when he played. He did look a bit weak (at the time I thought it was age – even though he was hardly old). He left a lot of room to Texas Tenor Billy Harper (who has maybe the biggest tone ever – bigger than a house) who, of course, tore it up. Malachi played flugelhorn all night (the smaller bore flugel requires less air) except for one uptempo Eb blues when he played trumpet. At the climax of his solo on that tune, Malachi gave it everything he had and pinched out a high F (concert Eb). The crowd applauded his effort. And it did look like effort. Malachi looked beat after he hit that note. But he also looked victorious. Afterward I wanted to talk to him, to thank him for the music and for the inspiration. But I was nervous to introduce myself; maybe a mix of not wanting to bug him and also being intimidated by him. I should have said hi and shook his hand. He’s gone now. Glad to have his music at least.