Lyricist, booking manager, saxophonist. Malaku Emanuel Bayen, Jr. born July 17, 1932 in Washington, D.C.; died June 3, 1994 in Washington, D.C.
Bayen was a royal prince, the son of the nephew (and personal physician) of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. His father had been sent by the emperor to study medicine at Howard University, where he met his future wife, Dorothy Hadley of Evanston, Illinois. They were married in 1931. The family lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 1935 to 1936, briefly in London (1936), and then in New York City at various locations including the Rex Hotel from 1936 until his father’s death in 1940. Bayen and his mother moved to Washington, which had been their official residence in the United States.
He was graduated from Dunbar High School and attended Howard University. He served in the U.S. Navy in the Korean War. He later studied communications at McGill University and film at New York University. He worked as a film editor and in the 1980s taught film production at Howard University.
In the 1950s Bayen lived in New York City. He was managing Charlie Parker just before the saxophonist’s death in 1955 and was the subject of a dedication, the composition “Chips” by pianist Elmo Hope, recorded for Blue Note in 1954.
He returned to Washington in the 1960s and was involved with the New Thing Art and Architecture Center.
Bayen’s most lasting contributions to jazz have been his lyrics. “Mendacity” and “In The Red” were first recorded by Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach in 1961. He collaborated with saxophonist Buck Hill on “Someone Like That In Your Life,” which was recorded by both Hill in 1990 and earlier by Shirley Horn in 1981.
It was Bayen who inadvertently introduced John Coltrane to the soprano saxophone when he left his instrument in Coltrane’s car in 1960. In 1961 he wrote the liner notes to the first album by the JFK Quintet.
In the mid-1980s, Bayen worked as booking manager for Woodie’s Hilltop Pub, bringing local legends and national names to the club.
He died of a heart attack.