When Ritual Trio bassist and AACM pioneer Malachi Favors died on January 30, 2004, his passing hit Kahil El'Zabar harder than most. Favors, more than merely a musical collaborator, was a guiding force in El'Zabar's life for 36 years. So, naturally, any homage to Favors that El'Zabar created was going to be a carefully considered and lovingly constructed monument to his memory, which is what we have in the deeply moving Big M: A Tribute To Malachi Favors. There's a profoundly spiritual component to the session recorded with bassist Yosef Ben Israel, saxophonist/pianist Ari Brown and guest violinist/composer Billy Bang, but it's not a brooding, sorrowful affair. It's an uplifting celebration of the facets of Favors's legacy as told in soulful reflection by some of the musicians who knew him best. Listen closely and you'll hear Favors all over this disc.