Multi-reedist Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre was one of the founding members of Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians). McIntyre had the ability to not only play "free jazz" but he also spent many years playing rhythm & blues with musicians including J.B. Hutto and Little Milton. It was his blues roots mixed with avant-garde technique that shaped the sound of McIntyre's tenor playing. McIntyre was born in Clarkville, Arkansas, but his family moved to Chicago when he was very young. Music was an integral part of his upbringing; his parents insisted he play an instrument. He started on drums at age seven and switched to saxophone shortly after. Upon high-school graduation, McIntyre attended the Chicago College of Music. Instead of copying the strict hard bop tenor sound prominent at the time, he developed his own musical concept based on freedom instead of molded restriction. Luckily, McIntyre hooked up with like-minded musicians in bassist Malachi Favors and multi-reedist Roscoe Mitchell.
In the early '60s the first AACM configuration was formed. Originally called the Experimental Band, this community-based movement was mentored by pianist Muhal Richard Abrams. In 1966 the first document of this new music was unleashed; Sound, under the leadership of Roscoe Mitchell, signaled the initial documentation of the free jazz movement out of Chicago. Chicago's Delmark Records began documenting this new sound, releasing classic works including Abrams' Level and Degrees of Light and Humility in the Light of the Creator, McIntyre's first solo effort released in 1969. In the late '60s McIntyre continued to play original music and worked as a session musician for Delmark with appearances on guitarist George Freeman's Birth Sign and J.B. Hutto's Hawk Squat.
McIntyre's second project, Forces and Feelings, featured his band the Light and was released in 1970. By that time many of the AACM musicians had moved out of the Windy City with hopes of conquering Europe and New York and being able to play more frequent gigs. While making his home in New York City throughout the '70s, McIntyre played the burgeoning loft scene with many dates taking place at Riveba studios, opened by tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers. He also spent time teaching at vibraphonist Karl Berger's Creative Music Studio and occasionally traveled to Europe playing with Abrams, where they gained a large following.
In 1979 McIntyre released his third album, Peace and Blessings, on the Black Saint label. While maintaining his skills as a multi-instrumentalist and percussionist, his recorded activity slowed down immensely for the next several years. Ram's Run, a live date for the Cadence label in 1981, was his only issued date as a leader in that decade. During this dry period McIntyre spent most of his time trying to play live as often as possible, which included the streets and subways of New York. He finally reappeared on disc in 1998 with the strong CIMP release Dream Of... featuring drummer Pheeroan Ak Laff and bassist Michael Logan. The following year Delmark issued the collaborative Bright Moments CD, reuniting McIntyre with AACM members Joseph Jarman, Malachi Favors, Steve Colson, and Kahil El'Zabar. McIntyre died of heart failure in the Bronx on November 9, 2013; he was 77 years old. ~ Al Campbell