CHICAGO -- Jazz bassist Malachi Favors, who played with such bandleaders as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Hubbard before beginning a 35-year association with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, died Jan. 30 of pancreatic cancer, his family said.
Mr. Favors's daughter, Malba Favors Allen, said her father was 76, although some references listed him as 10 years younger.
After service in the Army during the Korean War, the Chicago native studied with the bassists Wilbur Ware and Israel Crosby and worked with the pianists Andrew Hill and King Fleming. After playing with Gillespie and Hubbard, Mr. Favors joined the band of Chicago saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and played a major part on Mitchell's influential free-jazz album, "Sound," in 1966.
Mitchell's band soon evolved into the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which combined traditional elements of jazz and blues, West African music, chanting, ritual, abstract sound, and silence. Although founded in Chicago, the group, which also included trumpeter Lester Bowie, was based in Europe until 1971.
In addition to his distinctive bass sound, Mr. Favors also added vocals and such folk instruments as banjo, zither, and harmonica to the group's compositions. In concert, the band was highly theatrical, with Mr. Favors and other members performing in face paint and African attire.
Mr. Favors also recorded a solo album, "Natural and the Spiritual."