Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre: Saxophonist and composer who fought drug problems to forge an acclaimed career in jazz's black avant-garde
Wednesday 27 November 2013
The prison house is a tough school but it saved the young Maurice McIntyre and reconnected him with music. In the late 1960s McIntyre became one of the most passionate and articulate spokesmen of the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and an exponent of fiery but spacious "spirit jazz".
He described the AACM's mission, and his own, in strikingly dramatic terms. The new black avant-garde, he said, was "the stranded particle, the isolated island of the whole", at war with, but also to some degree still dependent on, the confused normality of the mainstream political and cultural system. It was this vision that fuelled his work.
McIntyre was born into a well-educated family in Clarksville, Arkansas, in 1936 and was raised in Chicago, where he attended Roosevelt University. He took up the saxophone in childhood but seems to have set it aside for a time.
He was jailed for drug offences and served his sentence in Lexington, Kentucky, alongside the pianist and composer Tadd Dameron, a major figure in bebop. On his release McIntyre made contact with the tutelary co-founder of AACM, Muhal Richard Abrams, and began to experiment with a form of jazz that was always at least part-ritual. His record Humility In The Light of the Creator was released on the Delmark label in 1969, followed by the fine Forces and Blessings. He adopted the name Kalaparush Ahra Difda, but later reverted an extended version of his birth name. He worked at Karl Berger's Creative Music Studio for a time in the 1970s, recording further material for the European Black Saint label, but it was as a teacher, guru and community-based musician that McIntyre made his greatest impact.
Intermittent drug use harmed his career, but McIntyre returned strongly in the first decade of the new century with further explorations that combined avant-garde saxophone playing and roots music. Some of his later work demands a sympathetic ear to extract much pleasure, but McIntyre was not primarily interested in the commodification of music as entertainment. Recent sightings had him working as a street musician, preparing new material in the midst of the community, which is where he felt most comfortable. He is survived by his partner Antoinette Bell, by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Maurice Benford McIntyre (Kalaparush Ahrah Difda and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre), saxophonist and composer: born Clarksville, Arkansas 24 March 1936; partner to Antoinette Bell (one daughter); died Bronx, New York 9 November 2013.
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
Greece debt crisis explainer: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
Greece debt crisis referendum: Greeks want to vote No to austerity – but Yes to Europe
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...