Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre: Saxophonist and composer who fought drug problems to forge an acclaimed career in jazz's black avant-garde

 

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.

BRIAN MORTON

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence