Makanda K. McIntyre, 69, a musician who was a leading figure in the free jazz movement of the early 1960s, died Wednesday of a heart attack in New York City.
Born Kenneth Arthur McIntyre in Boston, McIntyre studied piano but switched to saxophone as a teenager after hearing the innovative music of the great Charlie Parker. He played piano and reed instruments while in the Army in Japan in the early 1950s.
He continued his music education on his return to civilian life, studying at the Boston Conservatory where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music.
A versatile musician, McIntyre played a wide array of instruments, including oboe, bassoon, bass clarinet and saxophones. An early leader in the free jazz movement in the 1960s, McIntyre recorded fewer than a dozen jazz albums in the 1960s and ‘70s, which were well received critically. He played with such noted free jazz musicians as Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and Cecil Taylor.
In the mid-1960s, he earned a doctorate in music at the University of Massachusetts before taking teaching posts at State University New York, Fordham University, Smith College and the New School.