John Malachi

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John Malachi

John Malachi (September 6, 1919 – February 11, 1987) was an American jazz pianist born in Red Springs, North Carolina, who was a member of the epochal Billy Eckstine Bebop Orchestra in 1944-45 and again in 1947. He also worked with Illinois Jacquet in 1948, Louis Jordan in 1951, and a series of singers including Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Al Hibbler, and Joe Williams.[1]

Malachi opted out of the traveling life of the touring jazz musician in the 1960s, living roughly the last decade and a half of his life in Washington, D.C. freelancing, playing with touring bands and artists when they stopped in Washington, and leading music workshops at clubs like Jimmy MacPhail's Gold Room and Bill Harris's Pig's Foot. Malachi's generosity towards younger musicians was legendary.[2] One of the musicians he helped influence recalls that younger players referred to his workshops as "The University of John Malachi." [3][4]

Malachi is credited with creating the nickname "Sassy" for Sarah Vaughan, with whom he worked with the Eckstine Orchestra and later directly with her. Malachi was fond of categorizing jazz pianists into "acrobats" and "poets," classifying himself among the latter.[citation needed]

John Malachi is the great-grandfather of Carolyn Malachi. The singer, poet, and rap artist received a Best Urban / Alternative Performance GRAMMY Award nomination in 2011.[5]

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