Artist Views: 131937
City of Birth: Boston, MA
Current Residence: New York, NY
Played With: ARTISTS INCLUDED ON MY ALBUMS
Ahmad Abdul-Malik, Edgar Bateman, Walter Bishop, Jr., Joanne Brackeen, Thierry Bruneau, Jaki Byard, Ron Carter, Selwart Clarke, Jean-Yves Colson, Bob Cunningham, Richard Davis, Eric Dolphy, Kenny Drew, Alonzo Gardner, Richard Harper, Beaver Harris, Louis Hayes, Terumasa Hino, Hakim Jami, Sam Jones, John Mancebo Lewis, Wilber Morris, Paul Morrison, Charli Persip, Severi Pyysalo, Alex Riel, Ben Riley, Dizzy Sal, Warren Smith, Bo Stief, Ed Stoute, Andrei Strobert, Arthur Taylor, Andy Vega, Bobby Ward, Reggie Workman.
INCLUDED ON RECORDINGS WITH:
Nat Adderly, Carla Bley, Jaki Byard, Bill Dixon, Honi Gordon, Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra, Beaver Harris, Craig Harris, Michael Mantler, Cecil Taylor.
Instruments: Flutes, double reeds, clarinets, saxophones, piano, bass and drums.
Other Activities: Composer, orchestrator, and educator
|Makanda Ken McIntyre |
The world-renowned multi-instrumentalist, composer, orchestrator and educator, Makanda Ken McIntyre, was a tireless musical innovator for more than 50 years. When he died in 2001, he had 12 albums, more than 500 compositions and 200 arrangements to his credit. A virtuoso on all of the woodwind instruments, he was known primarily for leading his own ensembles -- performing on alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, oboe and bassoon. His highly energetic musical style embodied a celebratory life force. As a composer he represented many genres of music in the African American tradition, including the blues, swing, Calypso, straight ahead, bebop, and avant garde. His lyrical, sweet melodies contrasted with complicated rhythms, creating a dynamic tension rarely heard.
Makanda was born in the South End of Boston, Massachusetts on September 7, 1931, to parents of Jamaican descent. His musical journey began with piano lessons and vocal performance in the St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church choir. A 1948 introduction to Charlie Parker's music inspired Makanda to play the alto saxophone. The first years of intense practice, and compulsory military service, followed suit. Upon his return from the Korean War, Makanda earned his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the Boston Conservatory of Music in the late 1950's. Makanda's recording career began auspiciously with two albums for the Prestige label. Looking Ahead, an album with Eric Dolphy was released in 1960, and Stone Blues was released in 1961. Sessions in 1963 and 1964 for United Artists yielded two more albums, The Year of The Iron Sheep, and Way, Way Out. The latter featured a 13-piece string section, and found Makanda filling the roles of composer, arranger, soloist and conductor simultaneously. Over the next few years he contributed to sessions by Bill Dixon and to Unit Structures, the seminal recording by Cecil Taylor.
Makanda also began to establish his reputation as a committed and inspirational educator. He earned his Doctorate in Curriculum Design from the University of Massachusetts in 1975. He worked extensively in the New York City Schools, and also served on the faculties of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Wesleyan University, Smith College, Fordham University and the New School University in New York. In 1971, he began a 24-year tenure at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury. He founded and chaired its American Music, Dance and Theatre Program, one of the nation’s first programs dedicated to the arts in the African American tradition. He designed and taught ten new courses there in instrumental music, arranging, history, theory and composition, and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1995.
Makanda recorded five albums as a leader for the Steeplechase label, including Hindsight (1974), Home (1975), Open Horizon (1976), Introducing the Vibrations (1977) and Chasing the Sun (1979). He appeared regularly at Studio Rivbea, the legendary center of the 1970s New York City loft scene. In addition, he performed and conducted lectures and workshops at a wide range of institutions, including New England Conservatory, New York University, Northwestern University, Notre Dame, Bennington, Spellman and Morehouse College of Medicine.
Makanda founded The Contemporary African American Music Organization (CAAMO) in 1983 to promote free expression and continuing education in music and the performing arts with African-American origins. Since its inception, CAAMO has produced more than 250 performances and educational workshops at venues throughout the New York City metropolitan area, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Carnegie Hall, Medgar Evers College and the Museum of Modern Art. From 1984-1989, the CAAMO Orchestra held open rehearsals and readings every Sunday. Special guest artists at these events included Craig Harris, Jason Hwang, David Murray, Hamiet Bluiett, Sonny Fortune, Reggie Workman, Andrei Strobert, E.J. Allen, Donald Smith and Kweyao Agyapon.
As a leader, Makanda performed worldwide to great acclaim, and his own recordings featured such stellar sidemen as Eric Dolphy, Rashied Ali, Jaki Byard, Ron Carter, Richard Davis, Sam Jones, Ben Riley, Warren Smith, Arthur Taylor and Reggie Workman. He was also a prominent featured soloist, working extensively with Beaver Harris’ 360 Degree Music Experience in the 1970s and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra for more than 10 years beginning in 1984. Makanda also recorded and appeared with a wide range of ground-breaking artists, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Nat Adderley, David Murray, Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon and Makanda’s protégé, Craig Harris. In 1998, he served as jazz ambassador to the Middle East under the auspices of the Kennedy Center and United States Information Agency.
In 2000, CAAMO, produced Makanda’s final album, A New Beginning, featuring Makanda accompanied by Joanne Brackeen, Wilber Smith and Charli Persip. It was released on Passin’ Thru Records in 2001, one week before Makanda died of a heart attack at 69 years of age.